Mothers of teen daughters today have a new threat to worry about: bird mite infestation caused by feathered earrings. It’s called “feather dusting,” and it’s affecting thousands of teens in suburbs across the country.
Redondo Beach mom Susan Brickwell didn’t think much of it when her daughter Amber came home from a trip to Claire’s with dangly feathered earrings. But what happened next was shocking: “Amber wore the earrings on a field trip to a bird sanctuary,” Susan said, fighting back tears. “She came home covered in little red bugs.” Amber is believed to be Patient Zero of the infected teens.
Bird mite infestation is occurring among rebellious teens and ornithologist extremists at an alarming rate. The condition is not fatal, but it can cause extreme itching and discomfort unless treated.
“My husband and I had to drag Amber into the shower and wash everything she was wearing,” Susan said, shaking to recall the traumatic memory. “Teenagers these days have so many more pressures than we did, what with the Internet and all. I just never expected this.”
The threat of contracting bird mites has risen in recent years as feathers have become fashionable jewelry and hair accessories. Teen style blogger Jenni Jaye confirms: “It’s all about the feaths. It’s like a very Native American, Coachella moment right now, and literally every girl is dangling her feathered accessories into a chicken coop or cardinal’s nest trying to snag some sick accessories.”
Boys will also encourage impressionable teen girls to adopt the fad. Jacob, age 17, says: “There’s just something sexy about dem feaths.”
So, how can you keep your daughter safe from “el pájaro loco?” Follow these simple tips:
1. Ban feathered earrings and hair accessories in your home. Try substituting beads or a flower crown instead.
2. Prohibit trips to music festivals, bonfires, and aviaries. These are hotspots for “bye bye birdie.”
3. Don’t support businesses that encourage this dangerous fad, like Forever 21 or the National Audubon Society.
4. Talk to your daughter about bird mites and ask her not to contract them.
As scary as it sounds, some teens still remain on the outside of the trend. “I’ve never heard of it,” said local teen Crystal Cressley. “I guess it could’ve happened once. Right? I dunno. My friends are all pretty into drinking right now.”