15 Sep 2014
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As you've no doubt heard by now, with postings all over the news and internet (and thank you Ellen Degeneres for your "famous" Academy Award famous people head-touching selfie), the latest claim that selfie photos are causing widespread head lice outbreaks is rampant.  It seems that there’s some hysteria (but isn’t there always when it comes to head lice?) surrounding this newest “worry.”

Elimilice is the Atlanta and Athen’s areas head lice expert with treatment facilities in the Dunwoody/Atlanta and North Druid Hills/Decatur areas as well as a full team of mobile technicians who travel to clients’ homes, schools and offices.  In our fifth year in business, we’ve performed head lice removal for thousands of clients and have head checked tens of thousands. 

My opinion on the “selfies saga” -

There’s truly no scientific evidence that proves the theory that selfies are causing additional or increased cases of head lice in adolescents/teens.  When I started Elimilice, and even as reported by the CDC and other well-respected health organizations across the globe, I expected to provide services to mostly children in the 3 to 11 (year) age range.  However, we’ve always had a very strong representation of clients that are older – in the 12 to 17 (year) range.

Nevertheless, head lice do indeed pass predominantly from head-to-head contact and it would appear, in this “digital age,” that the prevalence of opportunities for such contact has increased.

Parents mention to me all the time “my child doesn’t have head-to-head contact with other children so I don’t understand how s/he could have contracted head lice.”  I then challenge them to just watch their child/ren in a school or social setting because:

  • There’s a lot of collaborative work, reading and other activities occurring in classroom settings these days which often renders children and adolescents touching heads with others.  (The days of children lined up in desks watching a teacher give lessons only are pretty much gone.  Children sit on rugs, at tables, in small groups, over microscopes, etc. – in very close proximity – and often with heads touching.)
  • Children (of all ages) enjoy playing handheld or electronic games and watching videos/looking at tablets, laptops, etc. – together – often with head to head contact.
  • Adolescents and teens share emails and texts while peering at their phones – head to head.
  • Children and adults of all ages are indeed engaging in taking selfies with friends/others which by their nature do “encourage” head to head contact.

So, the conclusion may be drawn that the way children, tweens and teens interact now might indeed be providing an opportunity for an increase in head lice cases.  Please remember, though, that there truly are methods to prevent head lice, and I personally do not believe that forbidding your children from taking selfies (or similar bans) is one of them.

Please call or text us at 404-704-2200 if we can be of assistance.  

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