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Itching to Take a Selfie?

By Dalyne Dixson

Go on any social media site and you are sure to see tons of them – selfies.  Love them or hate them they seem to be here to stay, especially for teenagers.  However, teens may be doing more than capturing a memory when they take these photos.  They may also be capturing head lice.

We all remember head lice from our elementary school days.  Our mothers cringed at the idea of us bringing home those wingless insects that could infest our scalps and feed on our blood.

In the past lice was seen almost exclusively in children because kids tend to spend a great deal of time in very close proximity to one another.  However, with the popularity of selfies, many of which involve individuals placing their heads together in order to fit in the photo, the number of teens being diagnosed with lice is on the rise.

In a recent article for Time Magazine, lice expert Marcy McQuillan, who runs two lice treatment centers in California, says though lice is usually found in elementary school aged kids she’s seen a huge increase of lice cases in teens this year.

 “Every teen I’ve treated, I’ve asked about selfies and they admit they take them every day,”  McQuillan said.

Some WCHS teens say now that they know taking selfies can help spread lice, they might reconsider doing it in the future.

“It would probably make me think twice about taking a selfie,” Bailey Prince says.

“I agree,” said Emily Crabtree.   “I think I am less likely to take selfies now.  I really didn’t think about the chance of passing on lice.”

Freshman, Corbin Kirksey says this new information isn’t likely to do much to change the popularity of selfies.

“I just don’t think people will pay it much attention,” Kirksey said.