Beyond the display of narcissistic tendencies, the potential for shutting down WhatsApp for a few hours, or just clogging “that series of tubes” that is the Internet…”selfies” may be causing something even more sinister and downright nasty….the spread of head lice.

Marcy McQuillan selfies

Selfies: Two in agreement?

While, apparently, “selfies” are meant to capture a moment in time and place, Marcy McQuillan who runs two (sickeningly cute named…Nitless Noggins) lice treatment centers in California believes that “selfies” will capture you much more than that: a nasty case of lice.

Lice can’t jump or fly which means that direct contact with someone’s lice-ridden head is the most likely way for you to contract them. Granted, sharing a comb, hat, headphones, etc. will likely get there as well if those items were infested with lice.

However, McQuillan believes that it’s “selfies” that are spreading lice despite the fact that there is no proof of this.

While I try to avoid superlatives myself, McQuillan doesn’t seem to share this practice with me, “Every teen I’ve treated, I ask about selfies, and they admit that they are taking them every day.” Wow, two uses of “every” in the same sentence.

Despite the speculative nature of McQuillan’s claims, Vanessa Mor, a supervisor at Lice Control in Oakland, CA recently said in an interview that she has seen an upturn in cases recently.

“That makes a lot of sense,” Mor told CNET. “In order to get it, you have to be in direct contact…”

An estimated 6 million to 12 million lice infestations occur in the country each year among children between the ages of 3 and 11, the Centers for Disease Control estimates. The CDC has nothing on its website mentioning “selfies.”

Opposing view

But Dr. Richard J. Pollack isn’t having this one bit, and his views are shared with other experts whom have refuted McQuillan’s claims.

“This is a marketing ploy, pure and simple,” Dr. Richard J. Pollack, who teaches at the Harvard School of Public Health and runs a pest identification business called IdentifyUS, and recently stated in an interview with NBC News that “Wherever these louse salons open a new branch, there always seems to be an epidemic. It’s good for business.”

I won’t claim to know the answer nor will I weigh in on the argument. That said, “selfies” like lice are pernicious at best, and despite the fact that I haven’t had head-to-head contact with anyone since I began this piece, I’m itching like crazy and need a frickin’ shower now. Horrible little creatures.