National Selfie Day is June 21, and Lice Clinics of America – Bakersfield wants families to know that while selfies can be fun, they have also been linked to an increase in cases of head lice.
“A pediatrician recently coined the term ‘social media lice’ because she was seeing so many teenagers with head lice, and she linked the cases to taking selfies,” said Melanie Sherman owner of Lice Clinics of America – Bakersfield.
The Bakersfield clinic is seeing more cases of head lice among teenagers, a significant change in clients. Historically, lice outbreaks typically slow as children get older, as teens don’t do as much sharing of clothing or sleep close together as younger children do. The selfie phenomenon is changing this.
“The problem comes when kids taking photos of themselves crowd their heads together in order to fit in the picture,” Sherman said. “Head-to-head contact is the primary way head lice spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
When heads touch it’s a lot easier for lice to crawl from one head to another.
“Lice don’t fly or jump, so the only way that they can spread is by physical contact with another human’s hair or head,” Sherman said. “Kids also get head lice from sitting close together in a car, hugging, or when they share hair utensils and accessories.”
“When taking selfies, be careful not to let heads and hair touch,” Sherman said. “We know kids want to be spontaneous, but no one wants to get head lice.”
In addition to avoiding head-to-head contact, wash and sterilize combs and brushes that may have been shared. Any clothing that is suspected of carrying lice should be placed in a dryer on high heat for at least 20 minutes.
Lice Clinics of America – Bakersfield is the area’s exclusive provider of lice treatment using the AirAllé® medical device. AirAllé is FDA-cleared and clinically proven to kill live lice and 99.2 percent of eggs through dehydration. Treatment takes about an hour and is guaranteed to be effective.
The Bakersfield clinic also offers a line of preventive products in the form of sprays and shampoos that service as a kind of lice repellent. The products are non-toxic and approved for daily use.
“We don’t want anyone to get head lice from selfies or anything else,” Sherman said. “But if you do, come to our clinic and you will be lice-free in an hour, and we can help you stay that way, too.”
With 330 clinics in 35 countries, Lice Clinics of America is the world’s largest network of professional lice treatment centers. The AirAllé medical device has treated more than 600,000 cases of head lice around the world with a success rate better than 99 percent.