A rising number of youths from around the country have been scratching their heads in confusion due to an ongoing uptick in the incidence of head lice. If lice-treatment experts are to be believed, the recent popularity of "selfies" are to be blamed for the problem.
In recent years, seflies have been becoming increasingly popular as teens scramble to post photos of themselves and their friends on various social networks. From Facebook to Instagram, walls and news feeds are currently being invaded by selfies. However, the selfie phenomenon may have a causal link to the sudden increase in incidents involving head lice.
"I've seen a huge increase of lice in teens this year," said lice-treatment expert Marcy McQuillan from the lice-treatment center Nitless Noggins. "Typically it's younger children I treat, because they're at higher risk for head-to-head contact. But now, teens are sticking their heads together every day to take cell phone pics."
While it may seem like a stretch, McQuillan and a number of other lice-treatment experts seem to think that the timing of the increase in popularity of selfies and the rise in incidents involving head lice is too much of a coincidence to ignore.
"Here's the problem,we're getting more of the high school and college kids than middle schoolers," said MacQuillian.
While some medical experts seem to agree that the theory makes sense, they are hesitant to give a definitive verdict on the matter. There are currently no scientifically backed research materials that can support the theory of a causal link between selfies and head lice.
"That makes a lot of sense. In order to get it, you have to be direct contact -- sitting on the same towel, sharing headphones together, or using someone else's hair curler, sharing hats, sweaters, and scarves," said Vanessa Mor, the supervisor of Lice Control in Oakland, California.
Mor has admitted that current statistics indicate a recent rise in the incidence of head lice in young individuals in Oakland, California. In fact, one Oakland high school is currently dealing with a breakout of lice amongst its student populace. However, Mor did not specifically point a finger at selfies as the culprit behind the problem.
Other medical professionals are of the opinion that the theory is simply a marketing stunt to increase the patronage of lice-treatment centers.
"This is a marketing ploy, pure and simple," said Dr. Richard J. Pollack, a professor from the Harvard School of Public Health. "Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It's good for business. "