Body Lice Explained

An Overview

body lice

While body lice share a few common traits with head lice, there are many differences that set them apart in addition to just the location of the lice themselves.

While lice on the body is far less common an issue than head lice, it is nonetheless a problem that most should be aware of. Knowing the differences between body and head lice is important, as is knowing the basics, including how you contract it, its symptoms, and how to eliminate the problem.

A body louse is a small insect that feeds on human blood, just as head lice do. However, body lice are larger than head lice and primarily live in the folds of clothing rather than on the head. They often find their way to the pubic region due to the proximity of clothing and hair, which is why they are often called pubic lice, genital lice, or crab lice.

The 'crab lice' title comes from the presence of two pinchers at the front of the insect which resemble crab pinchers. Unlike head lice, your odds of developing a body louse infestation are much greater if you live in unsanitary conditions.

body lice

The symptoms of lice of the body are similar to head lice as well. You can expect severe itching as the creatures bite into your body and feed on your blood. You may experience rashes or sores as a result not only of the bites, but of your scratching. The problem areas include the groin, armpit, waist, and other locations in which clothing is tight against the skin. Nits, the tiny eggs that both types of lice lay, are also present on the body hair and clothing.

This type of lice are usually spread through contact with someone who has them or by sharing clothes, towels, or furniture with an infested person. Still, in most cases preventing body lice is generally as easy as maintaining proper hygiene – bathing regularly and doing laundry as needed.

An infestation is normally dealt with by washing or destroying clothing and bed linens as well as with creams or washes on occasion. Water clothes are washed in needs to be at least 130 degrees and a hot drying cycle should be used as well. Doing so will usually take care of most lice infestations.


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