Pediculus humanus humanus is the species of lice that may affect humans and will be located on the body. There are also other types of lice that affect the head or the pubic area. Lice can be transmitted from other humans, infested clothes or furniture. If you suspect you have lice, try to detect a few clear signs of lice.
1. Extreme Itchiness
The body lice will circulate and cause severe itchiness on the entire body. You will feel major discomfort, which may be temporarily relived with a cold shower or by applying cold compresses or ice on the skin.
2. Skin Rashes
Some people may be allergic to lice and develop skin rashes when lice are present. If you notice skin rashes and you cannot explain where they come from, you may be infested with lice. If you are severely allergic to lice, you may also develop skin swelling.
3. Visible Lice
The body lice may be visible on the surface of the skin. The body lice are dark red or brown and can be seen jumping from one area to the other. A louse has a head and 6 limbs. The lice may also leave eggs and nits behind, which can be identified on bedding or clothes as small white dots.
Means of Transmission
You may have body lice if you have been in contact with homeless people or people that are most likely to have lice. However, the lice have the means to attach their eggs on clothes and bedding and can be easily contracted from other environments as well. You cannot contract body lice from cats or dogs, as the lice are species specific.
How to Eliminate the Body Lice
If you suspect you have body lice, you should visit a doctor and have some tests done. If you are sure you are infested with lice, you may get some over the counter topical treatments and use them for as long as indicated. Body lice reproduce at an alarming rate and may live for up to 4 weeks, producing numerous eggs. You may also transmit the lice to the people around you.
You should also get rid of the eggs and lice nits that may be present in your home. Boil all your clothes, bedding, blankets and other materials you suspect to be infested with lice eggs. Alternatively, you can throw out the items infested with lice eggs and replace them with new ones. Clean your home with diluted bleach, which will kill the body lice eggs and nits.
Body Lice and Additional Health Issues
If you are infested with body lice, you should get immediate treatment. Even if the body lice are not a health threat, they can cause major discomfort and may also transmit the epidemic typhus, the louse borne relapsing fever and the trench fever. These diseases can cause symptoms including:
- Elevated fever
- Nausea and vomiting