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Body Lice

AMBULATORY CARE:

Body lice

are tiny bugs that attach to your skin and live on tiny amounts of blood. Body lice like to bite soft skin areas where clothes fit tight to the body, such as the groin, waist, or armpits. Body lice are light gray and about the size of a sesame seed. Body lice are spread through contact with contaminated clothes or bedding.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Severe itching
  • Rash or swelling near the hair strands

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your body lice do not go away, even after treatment.
  • The lice bites become crusty or filled with pus, or your skin has a bad smell.
  • Your skin burns, stings, swells, or is numb after you use lice medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Lice medicine is used to kill body lice and is available without a doctor's order. Lice medicine usually comes as a lotion or cream. Use it as directed. Throw away all lice medicine that you do not use. Keep it away from your eyes. Other medicines may also be given to decrease itching and inflammation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage or prevent your body lice:

  • Take a hot shower and wash all clothes, towels, and bedding in hot, soapy water. Dry them on the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned should be sealed in an airtight plastic bag for 2 weeks. Do not share towels and sheets with others. Vacuum furniture, rugs, carpets, car seats, or other fabrics.
  • Do not have close body contact with anyone until all your lice are gone.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Body Lice (Ambulatory Care)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.