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Berlin researcher warns: selfies can lead to head lice

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Berlin researcher warns: selfies can lead to head lice
Friends taking a selfie in the North Sea. Photo: DPA.
10:29 CET+01:00
It might seem like a sweet idea to touch heads with your bestie to capture that perfect selfie, but according to researchers, it's also a great way to spread lice.

According to Professor Hermann Feldmeier from Charite hospital's Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene, children between the ages of eight and 11, as well as teenage girls, are increasingly getting head lice.

And the reason for this has to do with a certain social media craze.

“Girls like to put their heads together when they take selfies,” Feldmeier told health magazine Apotheken Umschau in its latest edition.

Lice almost always take the opportunity to jump onto the next head when there is direct hair contact. So worrying about transferring lice in other ways is generally being overly cautious.

“A transfer through textiles and other objects is theoretically possible, but this practically plays no role," he said.

Studies have found that the headwear and bed sheets of affected children had no lice. This is because if they leave the person's head, they'll have no source of nutrition.

“Already after four hours without blood, lice are so parched that they cannot suck any more,” Feldmeier explained.

Therefore parents often unnecessarily do too much to disinfect sheets and clothing after their children have had lice.

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