FORT LEE, N.J. — Citing a recent study in the U.K., a Fort Lee pediatrician is warning parents that smartphones could be the reason for a dramatic rise in head lice among schoolchildren gathering together to look at screens.
"Lice don't jump, they don't fly. They are transferred through intimate contact — head-to-head contact," Holy Name Medical Center's Janet Lazieh of Exelcare Pediatrics said.
"Looking at screens or taking selfies, it would make sense that lice could spread."
A study of 200 schoolchildren was recently published in The Telegraph found:
"Out of the 98 who did not have or use either type of device 29 (29.5 percent) experienced head lice - compared to 65 of the 104 (62.5 percent) who did."
Lazieh warned that less time in the classroom doesn't necessarily mean less risk of headlice.
"Camp is the time when kids will be spending more time gathered around their phones," the pediatrician said.
"The summer is when we should be reminding children to be careful of the time they are spending watching things on electronics, making head-to-head contact with other children."
Lazieh is urging parents to prohibit children from sharing combs/brushes and hats to avoid headlice as well.