Body lice are tiny parasitic insects (Pediculus humanus corporis) that spread through close contact with other people.
Lice - body
There are three types of lice:
Public and head lice are much smaller than body lice. This article focuses on body lice.
Lice feed on human blood, and they lay their eggs and deposit waste matter on the skin and clothing. A body lice infection causes intense itching. When body lice are not feeding on blood, they live in the seams and folds of clothing. Body lice are transmitted by contact with infected clothing and bedding as well as by direct contact with an infected person.
Risk factors include close (overcrowded) living conditions and poor hygiene.
- Intense itching
- Red bumps on the skin
- Lice on clothing (look in the seams)
Exams and Tests
Examination of the skin and clothing is usually sufficient to determine the presence of lice. The lice infestation may be confined to the body. However, people with body lice should be checked for lice on the scalp and lice on the groin area.
Because body lice live primarily in clothing, destruction or careful washing of infected garments is most important. In addition, your doctor may recommend a prescription cream or wash.
With effective treatment, the lice can be completely eliminated.
- Secondary skin infection from scratching
- Spread of lice to others
Rarely, body lice may be carriers of uncommon disease such as relapsing fever or trench fever.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you detect lice in your clothing or have persistent itchy bites.
Good personal hygiene and effective treatment of infected persons will prevent lice from spreading to others.
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Typical mistypes for Body lice
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