Body lice are parasitic insects about the size of a sesame seed and look exactly as head lice. They feed on blood and leaves of bite marks on the infested person while hiding to the person’s clothing or body. Body lice are rampant to crowded and unhygienic places such as refugee camps and shelter for homeless.
Bites marks may often see on the neck, shoulders, armpits, waist and groin. Infestations of these parasites typically cause minimal problems. However, there are cases that body lice leads to complications like:
- Secondary infections – Skin can be irritated due to scratching. This would make an opening for infections to develop.
- Skin Changes – There can be skin discoloration or thickening on areas where body lice usually bites.
- Contagious Disease – Body lice can carry and spread bacterial diseases such as typhus.
An infestation with body lice may show symptoms like:
- Intense itching
- Small welt-like marks
- Redness and swelling aroung the bite area
- Darkening or thickening of skin
The appearance of the bite marks and the presence of body lice to body hairs or seams of clothes of the infected person is enough to diagnose body lice infestation.
Body lice can be removed by thoroughly washing yourself and any contaminated items with soap and hot water. The doctor can also prescribe lice-killing products however, it can be toxic to humans, so it’s important that you follow the directions carefully.
To avoid body lice infestation, you must:
- Not share any personal belongings to other person especially to those who are already infected with the lice.
- Not have prolonged contact with an infested person
- Bath regularly
- Change clothing