LICE BUSTER: Trennah Portelli offers head lice removal in the comfort of your own home.
LICE BUSTER: Trennah Portelli offers head lice removal in the comfort of your own home. Ebony Battersby

Selfies lead to head lice epidemic in teens

NO ONE is immune to an attack of head lice - especially if you are a fan of the 'selfie'.

Mobile head lice removal technician Trennah Portelli says she has entered the homes of the rich, the poor, nursing homes and young families to bust nits.

But the critters have a new favourite - teenagers.

"Head lice don't discriminate. I've seen all walks of life infested," she said.

"But I've never seen such a huge epidemic amongst teenagers. Selfies have made them a problem rife in high schools."

Head lice crawl fast and need head to head contact for transmission - so people putting their heads together to take a selfie offer an easy way for the lice to spread.

In the same way, head lice are usually seen more widely among primary school children because of the way they play.

Mrs Portelli is making a living out of removing head lice from heads in the homes of her Gladstone clients, but she said the motivation has nothing to do with money.

"I've seen a family so affected by nits that the poor little girl was asked not to return to school," she said.

Mrs Portelli, who operates from the privacy of her clients' homes, uses only natural products.

"It's where so many people go wrong. Chemicals only kill live lice," she said.

"My products essentially dehydrate the eggs and stops the life cycle."

* Editor's note, 10am: This story has been edited to include information about how head lice are spread.


  • Head lice are small, wingless insects
  • 71.4% of parents believe that schools should be able to treat children for head lice
  • Only half of cases cause an itchy scalp
  • 15.1% of children have contracted head lice more than 10 times in the past year
  • Mrs Portelli's services are available by calling 0447 590 664


Christine Roberts: I had head lice when I was a kid. I am one of six girls and we all had long hair. The only thing I've found to work on my kids is KP24. Use it once and that's it.

Rachel Bowers: Yes, we've had head lice in our household before. I just buy the stuff from the chemist. It's a really bad problem at school. Although we've been pretty lucky and only dealt with them once.

Tamra Costello: I use KP24 if it's needed. I've tried apple cider vinegar and heaps of conditioner, but nothing else has worked.

Lorraine Spicer: I use cooking oil, send them out into the sun for two hours, then wash their hair. After using a bit of Tre Semme I comb their hair and out they come.