Dad dot info
DAD.info form. Ask questions, get answers

Head lice more common on children with smartphones or tablets, study finds

Children who own smartphones or tablets are more likely to have head lice, a small new study has found

 

One explanation could be that transmission of nits occurs when children gather around the devices.

Taking selfies was found to increase the likelihood of suffering from lice – but the risk was not statistically significant, according to researchers from Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who presented their findings to the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference in Liverpool.

Questionnaires were given to all parents attending the paediatric outpatient department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, over a one-month period.

Ninety two questionnaires were completed, which included data on 202 children.

Of these, 45% had experienced head lice in the last five years – girls with siblings aged six to nine years were most commonly affected.

Just over half the children owned a smartphone or tablet and two in five of these children used their device to take selfies.

Researchers found that only 29.5% of youngsters who did not have a smartphone or tablet had head lice compared to 62.5% who owned such devices.

And 55% of those performing selfies experienced head lice.

But this was not found to be a statistically significant increase, the authors said.

Researchers said that this raises “interesting questions” about how lice are transmitted.

“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.

“Selfie culture gets its fair share of negative press so it’s worth noting that despite previous speculation it seems that selfies can’t specifically be blamed for helping the spread of head lice at this stage.”

Matthew Gass, of the British Association of Dermatologists, added: “Head lice are a pain to deal with, both for children and their parents. Speaking from experience, they are intractable misery bugs that take far more time and effort to remove than is reasonable. Not to mention the obligatory quarantine period that they necessitate.

“That’s why a better understanding of how these pests are transmitted is useful. Prevention is always better than a cure, particularly if the cure means wrenching your poor daughter’s hair with a fine-toothed nit comb, or relying on over-the-counter remedies that head lice are increasingly resistant to.

“We’re not saying that smartphones are causing children to get head lice, but that there is a link, so if there’s an outbreak at home or at school, consider how electronic devices might cause children to congregate, allowing head lice to spread.”

Related entries

Your Guide to the European Championships

Your Guide to the European Championships

Like it or loathe it, the next few weeks are going to be all about football. If you want the basics to keep up with your footy crazy kids we’ve compiled this handy guide to give you an overview of the upcoming European Championships. UEFA.com What are the European...

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcome a new baby girl

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcome a new baby girl

Welcome to the world Baby Lilibet. The Dad.info team loves a baby and the new daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is just the good news we need. https://twitter.com/RoyalFamily/status/1401614927236841474 Named for her grandmother and great-grandmother, Lilibet...

Latest entries

The Best Family Walks in Britain

The Best Family Walks in Britain

We could all do with exercise, fresh air and some lovely low-cost days out, not to mention some beautiful scenery. Charles Clinkard have put together a list of the 40 greatest walks for families in Britain, taking into account a number of helpful amenities such as...

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

As a parent of a 10 year old who is rapidly approaching the age where he will be getting his own phone, I’m concerned about ensuring he isn’t exposed to a cavalcade of disturbing things online. I’m worrying about bullying, about him being contacted or making friends...

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

21 Things You Didn’t Know About Japan

The Olympics have started! Despite a lack of fans (crowd noise will be piped into the stadiums instead) the event is still as important as ever and makes for great summer viewing. So at Dad.Info we have rounded up 21 interesting facts about Japan to both liberally...

Pin It on Pinterest