WellSpan Home

Body Lice

Topic Overview

What are body lice?

Body lice are tiny insects that can make a temporary home in the seams of your clothing or bedding (sheets, pillows, and blankets). They'remost often spread by contact with a person who has body lice or with that person's clothes, bedding, or towels.

Body lice are usually found only among people who can't wash their bodies or their clothes regularly.

What are the signs of body lice?

Body lice can cause very bad itching, especially at night. They can also cause sores in the armpits, waist, or torso. These are places where the seams of clothing can press against your skin.

It's hard to see body lice on your body. It's much easier to see lice or their eggs (called nits) on clothes.

How are they treated?

Most people can get rid of body lice by washing personal items and their bodies regularly. Clothes, bedding, and towels should be machine-washed in hot water [at least 130°F (54.4°C)] and dried on the hot cycle.

Try to bathe daily until there are no signs of lice on your body, clothes, or bedding. To prevent body lice from coming back, try to bathe and wash clothes and bedding at least once a week.

In most cases, you don't need medicine to kill body lice. If these hygiene steps don't work, you can use an over-the-counter or prescription medicine to kill body lice. It's important to use any medicine correctly and to choose a medicine that is safe for you.

You can also talk to the pharmacist to understand how to use a medicine and make sure that it is safe for you.

In rare cases, body lice carry disease. This usually only happens when people are living closely together in places that don't have good sanitation, such as refugee camps.

When should you call a doctor?

Call your doctor now if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.

Call your doctor if:

  • You are not getting better as expected.
  • Your symptoms get worse.

Credits

Current as ofApril 17, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×