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Selfies spread head lice, according to some experts

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If you like taking "selfies" - photographs of yourself on your smartphone - watch out if you invite a friend to get close to you in your picture, you may be inviting lice too. Yikes!

An expert says that head-rubbing contact can allow critters such as lice to jump into your hair, reported by The HuffingtonPost on Tuesday.

Marcy McQuillan of Nitless Noggins, a lice removal service says, “I’ve seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year. Typically it’s younger children I treat, because they’re at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics."

Vanessa Mor of Oakland's Lice Control tells CNET she has also seen an uptick in lice in teens and young adults. However, she doesn't blame selfies, and doesn't discount them either.

She says in order to get lice you have to have direct contact, "...sitting on the same towel, sharing headphones together or using someone else's hair curler, sharing hats, sweaters and scarves."

However, Dr. Richard J. Pollack of the Harvard School of Public Heath tells NBC News, “Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It’s good for business."

Pollack runs the pest identification and guidance service IdentifyUS and has seen no sign that lice is spreading among selfie-snapping teens. He says teens almost never have lice.

But lice is still around and there are ways you can try to prevent it. The CDC has some tips for lice prevention.

First of all "avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp)."

So next time you try to squeeze in with someone to take a self photo or selfie on your smartphone, make sure to leave a little "head room."



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