PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Doctors are warning that taking selfies is helping spread lice among children.
The tiny bugs are spread by head-to-head contact, so infestations increase when children are in close proximity to each other.
School outbreaks are common.
“You just never know who has lice, so you just take a selfie of someone and they could have it,” said high school senior CC Cook.
A study from Oxford University found that children who own smartphones are more prone to getting head lice.
The parasites attach themselves to hair and feed on human blood.
Doctors say there’s a common misconception that lice can hop from one head to another.
“Contrary to popular opinion, lice don’t fly,” said Dr. Sara Kertz. “They don’t jump, so it really is head-to-head contact. So, for sure, taking selfies and they are looking at a picture after with your friend, it is definitely high-risk.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against heads touching in its lice guide, saying “head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice” is the most common way of contracting the pests.
Kids who know they have head lice should be told to make sure not to touch heads with anyone else, and when it comes to selfies, it’s probably best to try to keep a little distance.