Are you creeped out by cautionary tales of kids getting head lice from group selfies? Some say the cultural phenomenon has reached new heights in popularity and originality, but the concern over selfie-spread lice takes it to new lows. Isn’t it just like adults to spoil all the kids’ fun? Sheesh.
Lice and the Will to Live
Head lice are highly contagious and they are, in fact, passed by head-to-head contact. There is a slight, though unlikely chance that shared pillows, hairbrushes and hats can facilitate their transfer. But the human scalp is not simply where head lice prefer to live, it is required for survival. Human heads are a lifeline. The louse will hold on for dear life rather than give up a wellspring of food to go on some haphazard search for better eats.
The louse is a wingless insect that cannot fly. It moves by crawling and cannot jump from person to person—or anywhere, for that matter! When paired with the low desire to move away from prime real estate, they’re not winning any marathons in the world of bugs. “Slow as a louse,” should be an expression more people use.
Logic and Logistics of Group Selfies
Quick head-to-head contact generally isn’t enough exposure time for head lice to spread from one person to another. Now, if a group of pals insist on getting the perfect “candid” pic and snap one after another until they take one that they’re happy with, then maybe that would offer enough exposure time to encourage the spread of head lice. Pressing or rubbing heads together would raise the risk, too.
It’s true that serving as lice treatment specialists has given us special resistance against lice-fueled panic, but what translates to comic (or as we say, “calm-ick!”) relief for us doesn’t make us less sensitive about your concerns related to catching head lice. We like to reassure our clients that hugs are OK and, especially where children are concerned, helpful to maintaining a happy home! In most cases, group selfies don’t take much longer than a hug.
Proceed with Caution
Since we seek out doctors and experts as an authoritative voice on pressing matters, it makes sense that we snap to attention when more than a few headlines declare “Experts Say” pretty much anything. In the case of the “selfies spread lice” stories, skeptics were quick to point out that there was no true “expert,” and more than likely it was the grievance of someone thinking it’s better to err on the side of caution. Lots of people feel that way! So when it comes to selfies, Lice Happens is flashing the yellow light.
Go ahead, take your best shot! Just try to be quick about it.