The Newest Cause of Lice in Schools: Selfies

02/25/2014 at 02:00 PM EST

Are Selfies Giving Teens Head Lice? One Expert Says Yes
Parasitic insects: They're not just for tweens anymore.

Whereas teens of past eras have tried to emulate their elders, today's high schoolers are taking after their younger cohorts in one crucial arena: head lice, commonly thought of as an elementary-school affliction.

The blame, SFist reports, lies with the ubiquitous selfie. To fit their faces in the same frame, teens are pressing their heads together more than ever before, allowing the microscopic parasites to jump from scalp to scalp with impunity.

Lice researcher Marcy McQuillan told SFist she's seen a tenfold increase in head lice cases in recent years.

"We're getting more of the high school and college kids than middle schoolers," she explained. "Selfies are fun, but the consequences are real."

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