Body Lice

Lice are ecto-parasites, parasites that live on the outside of the body of the victimized host. There are three types of lice that can be found on the human body, head lice, body lice and pubic lice. Head lice are the most common. Lice cause itching, irritation and annoyance. They also transmit many serious diseases such as typhus and trench fever. Body lice are closely related to head lice but are less frequently encountered. It is slightly bigger then the head louse (1/7-inch) and is grayish in color. Body lice are different from head lice in a few ways. They hide in clothing, usually the seams and folds, only attaching to the human body when feeding, compared to head lice always being attached to the head. These seams and folds are also were the body louse will glue the eggs. The female louse can lay anywhere between 50-150 eggs in their lifetime and 90% of these eggs hatch in seven to ten days. The nymph, or baby louse, matures in eleven days and the complete lifecycle of a body louse takes about three weeks.

How do I know if I have body lice?

The most common symptom of body lice is itching. Other symptoms include red bumps, small bite marks on the skin. One can also identify nits and lice in the seams and folds of clothing. Similar to the head lice, body lice are mainly transferred through direct contact with an infested person. One can get body lice through infested clothing or furniture. People who do not frequently wash their bedding and clothing are the most common victims of body lice.

What kind of consequences come from Body Lice?

Most of the consequences are due to human scratching of the irritated areas of the body. Louse saliva can cause irritation which can lead to infection of abrasions on the skin or even urticaria which is dark red, itchy bumps found all over the skin. Prolonged infestation can result in a thickening of the skin with pigmentation changes known as vagabond disease. Although body lice can carry infectious diseases such as epidemic typhus and trench fever, it cannot be transmitted through louse feeding. But they can be introduced into the blood stream by the host scratching the contaminated materials into the skin.

How can someone treat for body lice?

The best and most effective way to get rid of body lice is through either destruction or careful washing of all clothing garments, bedding, and cleaning the bed itself. Also your doctor might prescribe a cream or wash.
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