7Healthcast: Selfies and lice - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

7Healthcast: Selfies and lice

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UNDATED (NBC) - The story that teens were getting lice by taking too many selfies went viral this week.

But is it true?

Health experts say no.

It seems everybody's taking selfies. Hillary, the first lady. But Marcy McQuillan who owns Nitless Noggins, says when it comes to selfies, two heads are not better than one.

"When the middle school and high school kids get together to take their selfie and they are together for a prolonged time, where they are taking 20 or 30 pictures. They are looking at YouTube videos together that the lice is crawling from one head to the next,” said Marcy McQuillan, treats head lice.

She bases her theory on a dramatic increase in the number of teenage clients and on conversations with the teens who come to her salons to be deloused.

"We were noticing them on their phones and we were talking about doing group selfies and things like that and it came across to us that this could be the possible impact of the increase,” McQuillan said.

Daniel Wilson is with the Alameda County Health Agency and is not afraid of a group selfie obviously. But he is skeptical of McQuillan's theory except in extreme cases.

"If you have a real heavy infestation it's going to come out inside those pictures. But a low-level infestation I don't think it would happen so casually,” said Daniel Wilson, Alameda County Health Agency.

The controversy from McQuillan’s comments traveled all the way to Dr. Richard Pollock with the Harvard School of Public Health who is far more skeptical. He says: this is a marketing ploy, pure and simple. Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It's good for business.

"He studies parasites perhaps but he's not dealing with the families like I do on a daily basis that are coming in here and where you can actually see the increase,” said McQuillan.

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