After reading a recent article on “Selfies” and head lice, I had to laugh. My wife and I, Karen and Allan Franco, run a head lice removal service in the WashingtonDC and Maryland area called Advice On Lice, Inc. (adviceonicemd.com). We are not just a mobile lice business but a full service head lice treatment and removal services salon. With over 15 years of experience, I would say we have a pretty good handle on what’s going on out there. We see 3-4 families a day, which may include occasional teenagers. Yes most of our clients are younger and we have seen a slight increase in teenagers similar to Nitless Noggins.
In our opinion, this has a questionable cause and effect relationship to the emergence of the widespread phenomenon of “Selfies”.
What we have seen is an increase in cases in general which can be attributed to a more lax attitude by the public school systems in the Montgomery County, MD and Wash DC areas. Many a school’s policies on head lice have been rewritten to allow students to attend school with nits, and policies in some schools even allow a child to stay in class when they are discovered to have active infestations. Notification by paper or emails is not sent home to parents alerting of an outbreak unless 3 cases are reported in a class. And many parents do not inform their children’s schools because they are embarrassed and don’t want their children to miss out on classes and after school activities.
With this in mind it doesn’t come as a surprise that there may be a slight increase in the occurrence in teenagers, but “selfies” are not the big picture (pun intended).
One of my first questions to a teenage client is, “So where do you think you got lice?” The answer is usually, “I don’t know or from a close friend.” My next question is usually, “Does your friend have younger sisters with lice?”
We have found that most teenagers contract head lice either through contact with their younger siblings, baby sitting jobs or sharing brushes, or sleepovers with friends who’s siblings have lice. All one needs to do is realize that with an increase in cases in general your are likely to see a slight increase in teenagers.
Slefies? Not so much.