Lice on the Body


Getting Rid of Lice Index
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  • Get rid of Body Lice! Info about Combs, Lotions, Liquids, Insecticides and Medication
  • Facts and Information about Body Lice
  • Prevention, Control, Treatment, Remedies and Medication for Dogs, Cats, Poultry and Humans
  • Infestation in your home? House or body lice? Need Control? Get rid of Lice effectively!
  • Pictures, Treatments, Facts and Info about Lice, their Life Cycle and how they infect us!

What Are Body Lice?
Body lice (Pediculus humanus corporis) are small wingless ectoparasite insects that survive by dwelling and feeding on the exterior of a human. Body lice are small (1-3 mm), cannot fly or jump (like fleas) but they do have six legs which help them move around quickly. They range in color from light grey to brown. Body lice feed on skin, debris and blood and they can be found all over the human body and in the clothing (often in the seams) of infested people. There are three types of louse that affect the human body (the head louse, body louse and pubic louse) and the condition is called Pediculosis. Body lice have been around for hundreds of thousands of years - so they are not a new problem and are definitely not one that is going to disappear anytime soon. One of the differing characteristics of the body louse from the head and pubic louse is that they will also attach their eggs to clothing rather than solely to the base of hair strands close to the skin.

Where Are Body Lice Found?
Body lice are more prevalent in areas of poor sanitation/hygiene and over-crowding, but they can be caught by anyone who has close body contact or shares clothing, towels or bedding with someone who is infected. The homeless, poor and victims of war all over the world are at risk of body lice, no matter what their race or country. If the conditions are right, body lice outbreaks are not uncommon and louse populations can thrive. Some of the main reasons for this are close body contact in unhygienic surroundings whilst not having access to regularly washed, clean bedding or clothing. However, we can all catch body lice and it is important to know the signs and symptoms of body lice so immediate action can be taken to rid them. Small red bumps may appear from bites, discoloration of the skin and intense itching may occur in some people, live lice may be seen moving around quickly, small dark markings could be left on the skin, bedding and clothing (blood and excretions) and with a close inspection you may find small eggs/nits on hairs and in clothes.

Body Lice Diseases
Whereas most body lice do not cause further illness if treated quickly, body lice can act as vectors of three diseases in humans. Rickettsia prowazekii (agent of epidemic typhus), Borrelia recurrentis (agent of relapsing fever) and Bartonella Quintana (agent of trench fever) can all cause great illness and be fatal. Trench fever affected over 1,000,000 soldiers in WWI, due to the poor conditions and soldiers having to live and survive in small spaces together. Diseases are passed on by an infected louse, via infectious saliva that enters the puncture would when feeding on blood.

How do you get Body Lice

what is body lice

How Do They Survive?
Body Lice need to feed on blood to survive, so they must remain on the skin to a certain extent however these small six legged insects can move very quickly and can hide in fabrics around the body. Therefore if you think you have Body Lice, a thorough search should be conducted using a bright light (such as a torch) and a magnified glass. Check all over the body, in hair, around the waist and neck and also on clothes and bedding. If you find live adult lice then you need to find treatments to eliminate the lice as soon as possible. You should stay away from other people who haven't been infected, and do all you can to not spread the lice to others. You should also alert all the people you have been close in the past few weeks so they can also perform checks and seek treatment if necessary.

When treating Body Lice it is helpful understanding their life cycle, as you need to ensure that they are all killed. The life cycle of lice has 3 stages: egg (or nit), nymph and adult. Female adults can lay well over a 100 eggs/nits (whitish in color) which stick to hair or the clothing of their host for up to ten days, using saliva. The eggs hatch into nymphs which look like miniature versions of adults ('exopterygotes') and the nymph's then moult three times before they develop into adults (usually taking a further 10 days). The casing that the nymph hatches from remains on the hair (or on in the seams of clothing) and turns yellow. Adult lice need to feed on their host by piercing the skin and sucking their blood, before they reproduce.



Treatment for Body Lice should be sought and administered quickly. A pediculicide could be prescribed by your doctor, however for those that have access to clean clothing, bedding and can bathe daily it is unlikely any medication will be needed for Body Lice. As Body Lice can live in clothes, on towels and in bedding, all must be washed on a hot cycle (130 degrees Fahrenheit) and then hot dried to give the best chance of killing all Body Lice (delousing). Improving personal hygiene and ensuring that the person infected washes on a daily basis will also help. As Body Lice cannot survive without feeding on a host, any infected clothes and bedding could simply be left for two weeks away from the human body and any lice and eggs would die anyway. Malathion or Permethrin may be suggested by your doctor if the infestation is severe and if you are unfortunate enough to be infected with one of the diseases, antibiotics will usually be prescribed. It is unlikely that a Body Lice infestation will persist on anyone who is able to wash regularly and can access clean clothes and bedding.

Treating all those who are infected at the same time will help avoid further spread of Body Lice. It is very important to treat Body Lice as soon as possible and to avoid passing them to other people. A good level of personal hygiene will help prevent Body Lice from infecting you, as will avoiding those who are infected, sharing infected clothes and other devices (such as combs and brushes). You cannot guarantee 100% that you will avoid Body Lice as repellents are not said to be totally effective, but washing daily, wearing clean clothes and regularly changing your bedding will all help prevent any infestation.

Thousands of people search to find out about different types of parasites and how to get rid of them. Fortunately there are so many lice products available on line, you should be able to find what you want without too much of a problem. We hope that you have found this article on Body Lice a useful guide and that any questions you may have had have been answered. You will find that this website is a great resource, including this article, whether you are looking to learn more, purchase related products or just seek some quiet information. Men, women and children are all affected by these parasites and we hope you have located the treatment you may need, be it a comb, lotion, cream, medication or  shampoo. Treatments and remedies should be sought after quickly and if you have pubic-lice you should seek medical advice so they cannot be spread or infect others.

Body Lice

How do you get Body Lice

  • Get rid of Lice! Combs, Liquids, Lotions, Insecticides and Medication for thorough control
  • Facts and Information about a body louse, head louse, hair louse and pubic louse
  • How do you get infested? Treatments for all-types-of-lice!
  • Need pubic-lice treatments? Find out what to do here
  • Symptoms of head-lice? Search our information on Combs!
  • Life Cycle of head-lice and information on possible prevention methods, treatments and avoidance
  • What is a lice body? Take a look at our Picture pages

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