Could selfies be leading to an increase in teen lice outbreaks? It’s an interesting proposition, but probably not.
A report surfaced a few days back via SFist which claimed that an increase in teen head lice infestations was due in part to the popularity of selfies, particularly of the group variety. That may not be entirely true, says a conflicting report from NBC News.
SFist’s report cites an employee of a lice removal clinic in Scotts Valley, California, Marcy McQuillan as the source for the group selfie lice connection. McQuillan claims that her company has received a sharp increase in patients over the last two years, the same time period in which the selfie has become popular. McQuillan has also seen the rise of teen patients, where typically patients are of the elementary school age. McQuillan even goes on to compare taking selfies to drug use – which is a stretch to say the least. McQuillan stated, “Every teen I’ve treated, I ask about selfies, and they admit that they are taking them every day…I think parents need to be aware, and teenagers need to be aware too. Selfies are fun, but the consequences are real.”
Oh boy parents, looks like pot and alcohol just took a back seat. The real poison corrupting America’s youth is…SELFIES!
Well, that’s cute and all, but probably not true, says a report from NBC NEWS.
Where SFist spoke to an employee at a lice treatment clinic, NBC News went and interviewed a legit Harvard School of Public Health teacher. According to the professor, Dr. Richard J. Pollack, the whole hoopla over teen selfies and lice proliferation is all a big marketing ploy. Dr. Pollack states,
“This is a marketing ploy, pure and simple. Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It’s good for business.”
Furthermore, Dr. Pollack explains that there is no data supporting an uptick in lice infestations in the U.S. amongst teens or elementary aged children.
Sceptical? Here are some reasons why selfies are probably not causing lice infestations, straight from Dr. Pollack:
- Lice is most common in children from Kindergarten to fourth grade. Teens almost never have lice.
- Lice is spread from prolonged direct head-to-head contact, not the short time it takes to snap a selfie.
Well, there you go. I’ll take the Harvard Doctor, thank you very much.