What Do They Look Like?
- Size: Adult lice are 2 to 4.2 mm long.
- Color: These insects are whitish to gray in color.
- Characteristics: They have hook like claws at the end of their legs, wingless, and have a flattened look.
How Did I Get Lice?
Head lice often transfer between children at schools or daycare facilities and spread to other family members. In homes, body lice are spread through direct contact with a person who has these pests or come in contact from infested:
How Serious Are Lice?
As with other lice infestations, intense itching leads to scratching and can cause sores and secondary bacterial infections on the skin.
The effect of these parasites on humans depends on the species. Head and body parasite bites can lead to infection, while bird lice cannot survive on humans. They are not transferred to people, but may temporarily bite someone who handles infested birds.
These pests also pose a psychological problem, as their bites cause a tickling sensation and may result in:
- Secondary infection
Body lice can spread the following:
- Epidemic typhus
- Louse-borne relapsing fever
- Trench fever
- Vagabond’s disease
When body lice infestation are long lasting, heavily bitten areas of the skin can become thickened and darkened, particularly in the mid-section of the body, producing a condition called vagabond’s disease.
Although louse-borne (epidemic) typhus is no longer widespread, outbreaks of this disease still may occur from:
- Civil unrest
- Chronic poverty
- Laundering of clothing
- Natural or man-made disasters
- Social customs
- Social upheaval
- Times of war
- Unsanitary prisons
Signs of Infestation
Signs of a lice infestation may include:
- Bugs in clothing or hair
- Intense itching
- Red spots
How Do I Get Rid of Lice?
What You Can Do
Getting rid of head lice can be done at home with the use of a nit comb. Body lice can be addressed by thorough body washing. All clothing and bed linens should be washed in hot cycles.