Your kids may want to spread out before their next cell phone photo shoot. Health experts are finding a connection between "selfies" and head lice.

In many of these impromptu cell phone shots, teenagers are seen sticking their heads together, and that simple action allows the miniscule critters to travel from one person to the next.


Marta Alfano, owner of the Head to Head Lice Treatment Center in Hawthorne, said many parents are confused when they bring in their older children for lice issues. That's when she tells them to check their kids' phones and look at the pictures.

"It's very common that girls and boys get lice from close contact or taking a selfie," Alfano said. "Whenever you take selfies, you are exposing yourself to possibly getting lice from your friends."

Head lice are not considered a serious health hazard, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, given no link to a transmittable disease. Symptoms include itching or a tickling feeling, as well as irritability and sleeplessness.

"The best advice that we could give to families is to have a professional lice comb on hand. Every household should have one," Alfano said.

Selfie-takers would be wise to pose cheek-to-cheek or head-to-chin, instead of head-to-head, according to Alfano.

The majority of infestations are found in younger children, but the sharing of items such as combs and helmets create a problem in middle school and high school.