Warning that selfie snaps could spread lice in kids

THE STAR-HUNGRY: Celebrities are pursued by fans to pose for close-up pictures such as this one.

While selfies make waves around the world, experts warn that physical contact in group photographs may lead to an increase in the spread of head lice.

These are small, wingless, parasites which live on human hair and feed on blood drawn from the scalp, causing itching and sometimes infection.

Infestation is most frequent in children and teens and is spread through head-to-head contact as well as through sharing hats, towels, brushes and pillows, says Cape Town pharmacist Giulia Criscuolo.

Health experts warn that children may be spreading the lice by snapping selfies with friends and using technology such as iPads and video games, which are characterised by close physical contact.

“They need to be aware that this may contribute to the spread of lice, particularly during an outbreak,” Criscuolo has warned.

She suggests the following:

  • Teach your child not to share hats and hair accessories or to bump heads with friends while using cellphones or other technology;
  • If your child’s hair is long, pull it back into a bun or ponytail to keep it close to the scalp;
  • Examine your child’s head and hair for 10 minutes every week under good lighting;
  • If your child has lice, do not send him or her to school and alert teachers immediately;
  • To treat lice, use a non-toxic anti-lice shampoo, or ask your pharmacist for advice.

-The Herald Reporter 

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