Selfies blamed for head lice


teenagers taking selfie

An Irish pharmacist is warning of a new head lice risk factor

They’ve been blamed for everything from a growing disconnect with older people to a rise in narcissism and more than a few accidents.

But it seems the ubiquitous selfie is now responsible for something else: the spread of head lice.

Dublin pharmacist Tómas Conefrey told Ireland’s Independent that “With the whole selfie culture, it’s causing them to spread,” he said.

Mr Conefrey said he came to the realisation after hearing parents of school aged children blaming the photographs for the arrival of lice on their children’s heads.

“The penny dropped in my brain when I heard this,” he said.

He’s not the first health professional to warn that lice spread where selfies go. In Sydney’s Mona Vale, Head Lice Clinic manager Kayla Christensen told the Manly Daily earlier this year that she is seeing “lots of teens, especially those with longer hair”.

The clinic is located in Plunkett’s Pharmacy.

“Lice are quite lazy so they just mosey on over when kids put their heads together to take a selfie,” she said.

“They may look good on Instagram but selfies are spreading nits.”

Meanwhile, Caitriona O’ Riordan, pharmacist and member of the Executive Committee of the Irish Pharmacy Union offered some tips on preventing and treating the parasites.

“There is no foolproof way of preventing head lice but the earlier their presence on the head is detected, the easier it is to get rid of the lice,” she says.

“Our advice to parents is to check their children’s hair regularly, ideally once a week. Treatment should only be applied if a living, moving louse is found.

“While it is understandable that parents want to try and prevent an outbreak, using treatment products as a precautionary measure does not work.”

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