What does body lice look like? How do you know if you have body lice or head lice? Is there is a difference in treatment methods? For answers to these questions and more, check out this primer on what to do if you suspect you have a body lice infestation.
What Does Body Lice Look Like?
Body lice are miniscule, wingless insects. They will feed off your blood but they live in your clothing and bedding. If you look closely, you'll see tiny little bugs hopping around in your bedding or clothing, but most of all, you'll find the nits or eggs, which look like tiny grains of sand or tiny pussy willow buds in your clothing and bedding. The lice will eat a meal whenever you put on those clothes or lie in the bedding, but then will remain in your bedding or clothing waiting for you to return instead of trying to attach themselves to you all the time.
How Is Body Lice Different Than Head Lice?
Head lice remain on your scalp and attach their nits to your hair shafts, close to your scalp. Head lice are more difficult to get rid of because they lay those nits in such a way that they are glued to your hair shafts and you have to remove the nits one by one with a fine toothed comb made specifically for lice removal. Body lice are easier to kill and get rid of. If you have a rash and are itchy but don't have lice in your scalp, you probably have body lice, not head lice.
How Do You Get Rid of Body Lice?
Take a hot shower and use plenty of soap and hot water to scrub your body. Hot water and soap can kill any body lice that are on you-unlike head lice, which can hang on through a normal shower. Wash your clothing and bedding in hot water-at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 54 degrees Celsius. Dry clean or seal in a plastic bag all items you cannot wash in hot water-and leave it in the bag for over 30 days. Head lice can only live off humans for a few days, but body lice can hang around for 30 days without a meal. You want to make sure they are dead before you re-open those bags.
Not sure what the telltale signs of lice are? Make sure you check out this primer on identifying different types of lice.
Perhaps you've heard about using mayonnaise to treat head lice. Read this article for the whole scoop.