LOS GATOS (CBS SF) – The next time you huddle your head with a friend to snap a selfie you may also be providing a lifeline for new passenger – head lice.

That’s the claim of Bay Area lice-treatment expert Marcy McQuillan, who runs Nitless Noggins lice-treatment centers in Los Gatos and Scotts Valley. McQuillan claims a recent spike in lice transmissions is attributable to the photo phenomenon.

“Head lice are spread through head-to-head contact. Lice don’t jump or fly, so you actually have to touch heads,” McQuillan said in a press release. “Every teen I’ve treated, I ask about selfies, and they admit that they are taking them every day.”

Another local dermatologist told CNET that, while the theory is interesting, it’s difficult to draw conclusions.

“That makes a lot of sense. In order to get it, you have to be in direct contact,” said Vanessa Mor, supervisor at Lice Control in Oakland, told CNET.

Mor confirmed that lice cases are on the rise, including an outbreak at an East Bay high school.

Others have said the claim is simply a marketing ploy to help McQuillian attract new patients.


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