Body lice

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Body lice are tiny insects about the size of sesame seeds and lives in clothing, beddings and travels to the skin several times every day to feed on blood. Areas of the body that are usually bitten by body lice include the groin, armpits and the waist which are the places where the seams of clothing touches the skin.

Body lice are common in unhygienic and crowded living conditions such as refugee camps and shelters for the homeless. They are also responsible for spreading diseases and cause epidemics.


  • Development of rashes caused by allergic reaction to the bites of body lice
  • Severe itching or pruritus
  • Thickened or darkened skin that is usually seen near the groin or waist especially if the lice remained in that area for a long time.
  • Red bumps can be seen on the skin
    Body lice
    Development of rashes caused by allergic reaction to the bites of body lice


The body lice travel to the skin several times every day to feed on blood and the seams of the clothing are the usual places where they lay their eggs or nits. A person can become infected in close contact with a person who has body lice or with beddings or clothing that are infested by body lice.


Infestation of body lice can sometimes cause complications such as changes in the skin which includes discoloration and thickening of the area especially around the groin, waist and the upper thighs.

When body lice dig to feed on the blood, they can cause irritation of the skin. With constant scratching, it can make the condition worse and secondary infections can develop. Body lice are oftentimes responsible for spreading some bacterial diseases such as relapsing fever or trench fever and typhus.


  • The person suspected with body lice should be washed from head to toe. Remove and eliminate any infested clothing and bedding.
  • Change beddings, clothing and towels regularly.
  • Wash infested clothing and beddings in hot water and dry these items in a dryer using the high heat setting that is usually 130 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.
  • Other alternatives to eliminate body lice include dry cleaning or pressing the clothing using a hot iron to kill the lice and eggs.
  • Individuals with plenty of body hair should be treated using a pesticide or pediculicide that is applied to the body in order to eliminate the body lice. Over-the-counter pediculicides that has pyrethrum extracts or permethrin can be used.
  • Take a bath regularly and maintain proper hygiene in order to prevent body lice from infesting the body. Shower or take a bath at least once every day.

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