Overview

Body lice are tiny insects, about the size of a sesame seed. Body lice live in your clothing and bedding and travel to your skin several times a day to feed on blood. The most common sites for bites are around the neck, shoulders, armpits, waist and groin — places where clothing seams are most likely to touch skin.

Body lice are most common in crowded and unhygienic living conditions, such as refugee camps and shelters for the homeless. Body lice bites can spread certain types of diseases and can even cause epidemics.

Clothing and bedding that have been infested with body lice should be laundered in hot, soapy water and machine dried using the hot cycle.

Dec. 12, 2015
References
  1. AskMayoExpert. Lice infestation. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  2. Lice (pediculosis). Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/parasitic-skin-infections/lice. Accessed Oct. 21, 2015.
  3. Goldsmith LA, et al., eds. Scabies, other mites, and pediculosis. In: Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Oct. 21, 2015.
  4. Parasites: Lice. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/body/index.html. Accessed Oct. 21, 2015.