Teen Head Lice and Selfies

Teen Head Lice and Selfies

The media coverage and hype about the increase in teen head lice due to taking selfies has certainly gotten head lice a lot of press over the past week. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 6-12 million cases of head lice each year, being most common among children 3-11 year olds. According to the CDC (www.cdc.gov), there is “no reliable data on how many people get head lice each year,” so how is the most common age known? A case of head lice is not even a reportable disease to the CDC.  If the CDC does not have reliable data, how can it dispute the estimations of head lice removal professionals treating head lice every day? The fact remains, there is no data backing up the increase in head lice among teens or that selfies are to blame.

Head Lice is spread most commonly by head to head or hair to hair contact and less commonly through objects like brushes, scarves, hats and pillows The CDC (cdc.gov) recommends “avoiding head-to-head contact during play and other activities at home, school and elsewhere” as a prevention method. Using this CDC prevention tip, theoretically selfies could be an avenue for teens to transmit head lice. A group of teens squeezing together to take a selfie can lead to head to head contact. None the less, this head lice media hype has led to an increase in head lice awareness for all ages.  Along with avoiding head to head contact, the CDC makes these recommendations:

Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms or hair accessories.

Do not share combs, brushes or towels.

Do not lie on beds, couches, pillow carpets or stuffed animals used by an infested person.

It is important to teach children of any age and adults how to prevent and control head lice.

For more information www.heartlandhealthyheads.com.