What Are the Basics of Body Lice?

What are body lice?

Body lice are tiny, wingless insects, about the size of a sesame seed. They live in your clothing and bedding feeding exclusively on human blood.

Body lice are vectors for the transmission of the human diseases epidemic typhus, trench fever, and relapsing fever.

Body lice are most common in places where clothing seams to be most likely to touch skin, such as the neck, shoulders, armpits, waist and groin.

What are the symptoms of body lice?

Common signs and symptoms of body lice include:

  • Itching caused by bites of body lice.
  • Small areas of blood and crust on your skin where body lice bite.
  • Live body lice in your clothing.
  • Live lice eggs in your clothing.

What are the causes of body lice?

Direct contact is the most common cause of body lice.

If you have direct contact with someone who has body lice, or with clothing or bedding that is infested with body lice, you may get infested with body lice.

 

How to diagnose body lice?

To diagnose a body lice infestation, you and your doctor need to check through your body and clothing items thoroughly.

If you find live lice and lice eggs in your clothing, it indicates that you have a lice infestation.

 

How to treat body lice?

You can treat body lice by thoroughly washing yourself and any contaminated items with soap and hot water. Dry cleaning and ironing clothing that cannot be washed is also effective.

If you can’t get rid of lice through these measures, try using an over-the-counter lotion or shampoo — such as Nix or Rid.

If this still fails, your doctor can provide a prescription lotion. But remember to read and follow the directions carefully, because lice-killing products may be toxic.

 

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.