Selfies could be linked to head lice

Parents sending kids back to school have another thing to worry about besides pens, paper and pencils.

They have always had to look out for head lice, but new research shows the bugs may be harder to kill.        

Samples from 30 states, including Texas, found a gene mutation in lice that turns it into a superbug and resistant to over-the-counter chemicals.

If that's not bad enough, there is also a new way adults and teens are getting it: selfies.

Lice used to be a childhood problem eventually outgrown, like when youngsters bumped heads as they played together in tight quarters.

Now, as adults and teenagers almost constantly put their heads together while taking selfies, they’re unknowingly giving lice a new host on which to feed.

Loren Hickman works at Hair Fairies in Dallas, which specializes in lice removal. She says it's impossible to pinpoint exactly where someone gets lice.

However, Hickman says she's seen an uptick in the number of teens with lice who don't have siblings.

“They're holding the phone up, putting their head close to their friend,” said Hickman. “It only takes a second.”

Lice crawl from one strand of hair to another. They don't jump, they don't fly, but they travel and spread like wildfire.

“People taking group selfies, it’s just like a chain reaction,” said Hickman. “You take a picture with one person, you’re taking a picture with another person. That bug can actually spread that quick.”

The research into mutated lice still has to be independently evaluated, but it's not entirely surprising that over the years, over-the-counter medication may not be as effective as it once was.

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