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Head lice. We’ve all had it at least once in our lifetime.

Having head lice is a hell of a time. Your scalp itches. It becomes red and raw. You might even feel a tickling sensation on your scalp, as the little creatures creep around and colonise your cranium. The worst bit? When your mum whips out the Quitnits and you know you’re in for a whole hour of stinking combing.

It turns out more and more kids are copping head lice: and it’s because they’re huddling around taking selfies with each other.

i blame jacob sartorius

Researchers from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust gave out questionnaires to parents attending paediatric outpatient departments at an Oxford hospital over a one-month period, and from these, they gathered data on 202 children.

They found that 45 per cent had experienced head lice in the last five years – girls with siblings aged 6 to 9-years-old were most commonly affected.

More interestingly, over half the children owned a smartphone or tablet and 2 outta 5 of these children used their device to take selfies.

Researchers found that only 29.5 per cent of youngsters who didn’t have a smartphone had head lice compared to 62.5 per cent who owned such devices. And 55 per cent of those kids? They’re taking hot fire selfies.

so many lice i mean likes*

It raises “interesting questions” about how lice are transmitted. And while lice is usually more rampant among children, there’s no reason this phenomena can’t extend to us adults. 

“Compared to previous estimates of head lice incidence, our figures were much higher, showing that almost half of children have had them in the last five years, which may not come as a surprise to parents,” said one of the researchers, Dr Tess McPherson.

“We also noted that children with smartphones or tablets were more likely to get head lice, which is interesting but we can only guess that this is due to the way that young people gather around them, though there could be other reasons.”

It’s a choice reminder – be careful who you take selfies with.