'Selfies' Could Lead to the Spread of Lice

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 02/25/2014 | 10:45 AM EST

Taking a selfie with friends to post on your Facebook page may seem harmless, but it could put you at risk

Though everyone from President Barack Obama to Oprah Winfrey has caught wind of the “selfie” trend, you may want to think twice the next time you decide to self-take a picture with friends.

Though the millennial phenomenon has become rather popular as of late thanks to the rise of social media like Instagram and Facebook, self-snapping a pic with someone can actually put you at risk of getting head lice.

Believe it or not, lice health professionals reported a huge increase of lice cases, particularly among teens, who are at a higher risk of head-to-head contact as a result of taking so many selfie pictures. As it seems, sticking your heads together for the sake of a fun photo opt has its consequences.

Lice - which are wingless insects that feed off human blood in the head - can lead to discomfort, and even infections if not treated. While they do not carry any diseases, lice does cause severe itching and sometimes allergic reactions.

A strong reason why selfies seem to be a significant contributor to the increase in lice cases is because teens almost never have lice, according to experts. However, there are some professionals who do not buy the selfie argument, and think it’s more of a ploy for louse salon businesses trying to convince the public that there’s an epidemic.

Nonethless, it doesn't hurt to be cautious. To steer clear of lice, experts suggest avoiding head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact, as well as sharing things like headphones, hair curlers, sweaters and scarfs.

So just to be safe, you may want to give the selfies a rest.

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