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Medical experts say 'selfies' helping to spread head lice

By Kelsey Gerckens, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Reporter, kelsey.gerckens@keyt.com
Published On: Mar 11 2014 08:35:44 PM CDT

Medical Experts say 'selfies' helping to spread head lice

OXNARD, Calif. -

When you take and post a selfie, you may think you are sharing a special moment captured in a photograph, but medical experts are now saying you may also be sharing lice.

Port Hueneme school nurse Sydnee Johnsonbaugh said lice can be transmitted by taking a selfie, "If your head is close to their's when you take the selfie, then lice can crawl from their head to yours.  That's how you can get lice."

Lice is transmitted by being in close contact with others.  Lice do not jump or fly; they crawl.  You can get it by sharing combs, brushes, hats, helmets, and a number of other items.

The blood-sucking insects live close to the scalp and only feed on humans.  They are not dangerous and do not transmit disease, but they are a nit-picking problem because they easily spread.

"The best way to not get it is to not share things with others.  Don't share combs, brushes and if you are going to a sleepover, make sure you bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.  Use your own things like that," said Johnsonbaugh.

Johnsonbaugh said the district has not seen an increase in lice since selfies became popular, but she said lice is always common on school campuses. "It is something that we are always dealing with in our schools.  It is something that kids have.  So since schools have a lot of kids, we end up with head lice all the time," she said.

If your child has this head-scratching problem there are a few things you should do.  Comb their hair every day with a nit comb for two weeks.  Nit combs should be metal (not plastic) and have long teeth.  Also use an over-the-counter lice shampoo.  For more information go to: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/treatment.html

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