Head Lice vs. Body Lice

Head lice and body lice cause similar symptoms, all of which have the ability to grow bothersome in a short period of time. All known louse species act as parasites using the human body as a host. However, each type of lice differs based on both living characteristics and the area of infestation.

Head and Body Lice Symptoms

Both head and body lice cause itching and visual effects. Most people visually identify the actual louse organisms after itching persists for a number of days. The area of infestation generally becomes red due to the feeding lice and from itching.

Lifestyle Differences

The adult female head louse will live around one month and produce up to 10 eggs per day. Lice that infest the head will die once removed from the surface after a day or less due to a lack of feeding.

Body lice generally live in clothing or similar items. This species does not require a human host at all times; the body louse will live up to one full month off of the body.

Lifestyle Similarities

Both head lice and body lice feed off of the host. Each female specimen will produce about 10 eggs daily for a near 30 day duration.


Body lice gets contracted through the sharing of blankets, clothing and other cloth items. Direct contact between two individuals will also cause body lice to transfer from one individual to the next.

Head lice also transfers from person to person when garments get shared by an infected individual and one does not have lice.

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