Are selfies leading to an outbreak in head lice among teens? Not really, but the theory is gaining some popular traction online thanks to the macro up top.
Shared on Facebook this week by writer/director James Franco, the image is from a late February report by a local Fox affiliate that traces back to an SFist.com story which alleges that “selfies” may be causing lice infestation among teenagers.
California lice expert Marcy McQuillan said that lice cases among teens have spiked in the past year, and opined that the selfie fad is to blame.
“Typically it’s younger children I treat, because they’re at higher risk for head-to-head contact,” she told the site. “But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics.”
She continued, playing up the melodrama:
“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.”
But are the consequences really that dire? Probably not.
After the SFist story went viral in February, health experts at the Harvard School of Public Health said that the link between “selfies” and lice infestation is incredibly dubious. Tellingly, they dismissed the claim as a marketing ploy by salons that offer delousing services.
So share the above macro in good fun, but take it with a grain of salt. You’re probably not going to get lice from your friends if you take a selfie with them, but while we’re here, if you do have lice, please avoid selfies until you kill those little bastards with the shampoo.