We have all had an experience with these pests in one form or another, whether you had head lice as a child or know a youngster suffering with the pesky dilemma. But, did you know there are three different kinds of Lice? Body lice, head lice, and crab lice. Read on for further information.
- Head louse is a six legged bloodsucking insect that lives and reproduces on the hairs of the scalp
- Easily diagnosed by the presence of eggs (nits) that are glued to the scalp hairs, behind the ears, and nape of the neck. The eggs are brown and after hatching are clear of white.
- The infestation is through head to head contact or by the inanimate objects (like combs, brushes, hair accessories, helmet, hat, etc.) that carry the insect or nits from one person to another.
- Head lice epidemic in North America is still a big concern and is very resistant to traditional treatments.
- Infestation is more common in girls due to longer hairs and easy transmission by exchanging brush or hair accessories.
- The classic symptom is intense itch, but in some people it is without any symptoms, these people are carriers.
- The other symptoms are redness, pus and scaliness of the scalp and back of the neck.
- The treatment is based on the resistance of the insect and includes a topical application. This should be at least 2 application ,one week apart.
- Any natural product (like olive oil, mineral oil, mayonnaise and etc.) may slow the movements of the adult lice but it doesn’t kill them.
- Body lice historically are associated with poverty, poor hygiene, homelessness and overcrowding especially during wars or natural disasters.
- Lice live and lay egg on people’s clothing not their body.
- Serious epidemics like typhus, relapsing fever and trench fever are associated with body lice infestation.
- Body lice are larger than head lice but look similar
- The eggs and lice are not found on the skin. They almost always reside on the clothing seams that are in contact with the back, neck, shoulders and waistline.
- The symptoms are sever itching, redness of skin and blood and louse fecal stains on the clothing and bedding.
- The treatment includes putting all clothing and bedding of infested person inside a tightly sealed plastic bag and incineration or if not possible, washing with hot (more than 60 degrees Celsius ) then machine drying with very high heat. Usually topical application is used to increase the chance of eradication.
Crab lice (Pubic lice)
- This type of lice could be found on pubic hair, beard, eyelashes, axillae and around anus.
- It is transmitted by sexual or any other close contact, occasionally by contaminated clothing, bedding or towels.
- The symptoms are itching, discomfort and redness around the infested area.
- Mostly seen in young males especially in those who have sex with men
- This type of louse is smaller and wider than head louse and the eggs are attached to the hairs and can travel over the entire body surface!
- Standard treatment is topical insecticide and the sexual partner should be treated at the same time.
And there you have it folks, all you have ever wanted to know about lice.