Published on April 12, 2024 at 8:00 / Updated on May 1, 2024 at 8:00

What are body lice?

Body lice are parasitic insects that live on clothing and bedding used by infested persons. They are usually the result of poor hygiene.

Body lice must feed on blood and usually only move to the skin to feed.

What do body lice look like?

Body lice are longer than head lice: they measure between 2 mm to 4 mm. Apart from their size, they look like head lice.


Body lice are spread through contact with infested clothing and bedding. They lay their eggs on clothing fibers, especially in seams that are likely to touch the skin. Occasionally eggs are attached to body hair.

Body lice are mainly found on those with poor hygiene or living in close quarters.


Body lice cause severe itching which is usually worse around the waist, at the groin and at upper thighs: wherever clothing is tightest.


Body lice may be responsible for the spread of serious diseases which is why treatment is so important.

Treatment and prevention

Body lice can most likely be prevented and eradicated by washing on a regular basis and changing clothes and bedding at least once a week. Swapping clothes is not recommended. Washing clothing in hot water and drying them on the hottest setting will help kill most of the lice embedded in clothing and bedding. A treatment against lice generally is not necessary if hygiene is maintained and items are laundered appropriately at least once a week.

For more information, do not hesitate to speak to your pharmacist.
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