The Symptoms of Body Lice

A lot of people tend to confuse body lice with head lice, thinking that the lice made their way from the head down to the body. But that’s not true. Lice are actually region-specific, which means that head lice stick to the head! There are generally three different kinds of lice and all three infest a specific area:
  • Head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis)
  • Body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis)
  • Pubic louse (Pthirus pubis)
Body lice are very different from head lice. Body lice tend to be bottom-heavy in appearance. They only infest the human body, and if they fall off the body, they can die within a couple of days.

What Causes Body Lice?

Body lice tend to be larger in size than other kinds of lice. They suck blood from the body, leave their waste on the skin, and lay their eggs on the body and clothing. Body lice can’t jump, fly, or hop, but they can crawl. Body lice infestations usually happen to people who live in crowded and unhygienic conditions. Infestations can also spread due to close personal contact or through sharing infested clothing, towels, bed linens, etc. Generally, body lice infestations occur happen to people who don’t clean themselves properly or don’t have clean clothes.

The Symptoms of Body Lice

The common warning signs of body lice infestations are:
  • An intense itching on the body (pruritus)
  • Rashes on the body caused by an allergic reaction to the body lice bites
  • Red, pinpoint bumps on the skin, usually where clothing touches the skin like near the neck, armpits, shoulders, waist, and groin area.
  • Darkened or thickened skin, more commonly near the groin or waist area, which the lice inhabit longer. This is also known as vagabond’s disease.
  • The lice bites can cause sores as well. These sores can get infected with bacteria or fungi and can lead to secondary infections.

Diagnosing Body Lice Infestations

Body lice can be easily diagnosed by observing the skin or the clothing. You can spot nits and lice crawling on the body. Body lice are the size of a sesame seed so they’re big enough to be easily spotted. Nits can also be found in the seams of clothing items.

Getting Rid of Body Lice

Body lice can be easily treated by improving personal hygiene, cleaning yourself regularly, and wearing washed, clean clothing. Clothing and linen that has been used by the person infested should be carefully washed with hot water and then tumble-dried in hot air. Lice-killing medication known as pediculicides can also be used to eradicate body lice infestations.

Differentiating Body Lice from Head Lice

Adult head lice are around the size of a sesame seed, about 2–3mm long. Head lice typically are brow-grey in color, have 6 legs and are wingless. Head lice attach themselves to the hair shaft, near the base of the hair and lay their eggs near the scalp.  Body lice are a little longer than head lice, around 2.3–3.6mm long. But they’re pretty similar in appearance to head lice so it can be difficult to differentiate between the two. If you suspect you have head lice, go to your nearest lice salon immediately for a checkup.

About Lice Troopers

Our hair lice removal services make use of natural remedies and special combs to ensure that the lice infestation is completely eradicated. Lice Troopers provide expert lice removal services such as in-home lice removal, home inspection & cleaning in areas near you. Call 1.800.403.5423 for more details.