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Arizona doctors blame ‘selfies’ for jump in head lice cases

PHEONIX — Teenagers take a lot of selfies on their cell phones, just to be silly and have fun.

The last thing Pinnacle High School senior C.C. Cook and her friends worry about is catching head lice.

“You just never know who has lice, so you just take a selfie of someone and they could have it,” said Cook. “All of a sudden you could have it and give it to other people. Yes, it’s weird.”

According to a number of Valley doctors, the “selfie” craze is directly related to an increase in the number of lice cases they’re seeing in young people.

Lice are parasites that attach themselves to human hair and feed on human blood.

Phoenix pediatrician Dr. Sara Kertz said there’s a common misconception that lice can hop from one head to another.

They can’t, but when two heads are together they can easily crawl from one strand of hair to the next, said Kertz.

“Contrary to popular opinion, lice don’t fly,” said Kertz. “They don’t jump, so it really is head-to-head contact. So for sure, taking selfies and they are looking at a picture after with your friend, it is definitely high risk.”

Doctors are not suggesting everyone stop taking selfies all together, just use a little more caution when you bump heads with someone.