What are Body Lice?
Body lice (also called pediculosis) are described as small, parasitic, wingless insects that inhabit the hair on your body. Very often body lice are clearly visible in the beard, eyelashes, or eye brows. These parasites bite the skin and then feed on small amounts of blood which causes persistent scratching and itching They produce small eggs called nits which are as tiny as dandruff flakes. Nits reproduce rapidly once they hatch into even more lice.
Symptoms and signs
The most common symptoms and signs of body lice include:
- Frequent itching and scratching
- Sores or small, red bumps on the site of infestation
- Nits (lice eggs) that appear as tiny, white, clear or oval-shaped dots (that sit at an angle) on the site of infestation
What Causes Body Lice?
Body lice are very contagious, and sharing personal belongings such as combs, brushes, towels, and pillows puts you at risk. Many people believe that if you have body lice you are dirty or unhygienic but this is simply not true!
It can happen to anyone no matter how impeccable their personal hygiene is. Lice can affect anyone. If not treated immediately, body lice can cause skin irritation and infection.
Help for Body Lice
The treatment of lice involves a wide variety of over-the-counter or prescription products such as shampoos and lotions. These products are quite harsh as they contain pesticides and toxic chemicals. If you or your child suffers from asthma or allergies, or if you are pregnant or nursing, consult your doctor before using these products.
Remember to also protect the eye area when using these products. A special comb is also used to comb through the hair one section at a time to remove the remaining lice or nits – this should be done every 3 days for about 2 weeks. If someone in your family has a lice or nit infestation, it is best to treat the whole family.
A more natural and safe option for eliminating and preventing lice is the use of herbal and aromatherapy ingredients. There are many plants in nature that manage to ward off insects and parasites naturally! Herbal ingredients such as Azadirachta indica (Neem), Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) and Lavender act as natural insect repellents, and also have excellent antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Aromatherapeutic ingredients such as Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) and Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) have proven properties to ward off parasites and help the body to resist secondary infection.
More Information on Body Lice
Tips to prevent body lice
There are a number of ways to prevent re-infestation of lice and these include:
- Wash bed linens, towels and clothing in hot water used by the person with head lice
- Avoid sharing person items such as brushes, combs, toothbrushes, towels, hats, barrettes, hair ties, caps, and scarves
- Do not lie on bed linen and pillows that have been used by others with lice
- Soak hair items such as brushes, combs, hair bands, and bandanas in hot water or rubbing oil