All of us know that a healthy body is the home of a healthy mind. With the combination of the two, we can enjoy a happy life. An unhealthy body is riddled with various harmful illness and there are many people who try various means to keep themselves healthy. They start focusing on their diet and attempt physical exercises.
However, in the grand quest to a healthy body, most neglect the small things that can have a detrimental effect on their health due to a hectic schedule. These small causes can evolve into numerous different diseases. Body lice are one such affliction that arises from neglecting general hygiene.
You must all be familiar with head lice. Those tiny insects that live on your head and feed off the dirt and dandruff on your head. Body Lice are brownish-black or reddish-black in color and about the same size as head lice (3 to 4 mm long and about 2mm in height).
This blog article will start by explaining what is body lice, the common causes of body lice and remedies to get rid of body lice fast.
WHAT IS BODY LICE?
Almost everyone has heard of ‘body lice’ but what is it exactly? Body lice are a flat, wingless, blood-sucking insect that infests humans. There are three different types of body lice, namely: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice. The condition of being infected is known as pediculosis. Generally, they are gray/brown in color, however, after ingesting human blood, body lice might be blood red in color.
Head lice typically spend their whole life on the human scalp. The females attach their eggs to the base of the hair. Body lice, on the other hand, typically attach their eggs on clothing. When these eggs are exposed to sunlight or heat, they are known to hatch faster as well.
Body lice are a huge health risk as they are known to carry various diseases. They are identified as vectors that can transmit diseases such as typhus, louse-borne relapsing fever, and trench fever. Additionally, there is a high chance of secondary infection as scratching the itch caused by body lice leads to open wounds and as a result, risk of bacterial infection.
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Life Cycle of a Body Lice
- Body Lice hatch from tiny white eggs called Nits (5 to 9 days after they have been laid) and these hatchlings are called Nymphs.
- Nymphs are whitish in color and are about ⅓ rd the size of adult body lice.
- The have a head, thorax, and abdomen and have three pairs of legs with claws to get a grip on body hair.
- Nymphs must feed on human blood within 24 hours from hatching, or they will die.
- Once, Nymphs have fed on human blood and grown to three times their original body size, and they mature into adult body lice. This takes about 21 to 28 days.
- Adult body lice once again mate with each other and females lay between 275 to 300 eggs.
- Adult body lice can survive for up to 10 days without feeding.
- Nits cannot survive in temperatures below 23 degrees Celsius or above 55 degrees Celsius.
CAUSES OF BODY LICE
To solve any problem one must, first of all, know the causes which are responsible for it. Similarly, to cure the problem of body lice, we have to first realize the causes of body lice.
- UNHYGIENIC HABITS: Body Lice are generally larger than other types of lice. They cannot fly, hop or jump and can only crawl. They lay their eggs on skin and in clothing, this is the reason why a lack of general hygienic habits is one of the core causes of body lice. If you do not regularly take a shower, or keep wearing the same clothes, you are more prone to body lice infestation. This causes the number of body lice to increase as more and more eggs are laid and hatched through your clothing. We advise you to regularly change and wash your clothes.
- CROWDS: As mentioned above, body lice can only live in the human body. The infestation is spread by close person to person contact or transferred through sharing of contaminated clothing, towels or bed linen. If you live in an unhygienic or crowded living conditions, you are more prone to body lice. Generally, people who do not have access to clean clothing have more chances of body lice infestation.
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SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BODY LICE
Diagnosis of body lice infestation can usually be done without having to consult anyone. Body lice are visible to the naked eye and you can search along the seams of your clothing for nits (lice egg). You can use a magnifying lens to help find them.
Body lice cause intense itching and can even cause red rashes to appear on the infested body due to an allergic reaction. If you find red bumps on your skin or find thickened and dark skin near the waist or groin area, it can be a telltale sign of body lice infestation.
NATURAL TREATMENT FOR BODY LICE
There is a reason why an increasing number of patients are opting for natural treatment over-prescribed medications. Natural treatment has no harmful side-effects and unlike prescriptions, they are not synthetic. Continue reading to learn the best natural treatment for body lice.
- NEEM LEAF: Neem is one of the best medicinal herbs with a variety of different use cases. It can also be used in the treatment of body lice. Neem has numerous medicinal qualities due to which it can be used in the treatment of a number of different ailments. This is the reason why Neem is one of the most trusted herbs since ancient times. There are two ways in which we can treat body lice using Neem leaves. You can either boil Neem leaves in a sufficient amount of water and then take bath with that water or make a Neem paste, apply the paste on the affected area, let it dry and then take a bath. Either way, the Neem washes away all body lice present on our body as well as helps with body ice bites.
- APRICOT LEAF: Apricot leaves should be used only in the most severe conditions of body lice infestation. As you already know, body lice cause red bumps and intense itching. Incessant scratching of these red bumps can lead to a secondary infection. Make a paste out of apricot leaves and apply it on the affected areas. Leave it to dry and then wash the paste away with warm water. You will notice immediate relief. Continue this routine daily and it will help cure the problem.
- DRUMSTICK LEAF AND SESAME OIL: Drumstick and Sesame oil has been used for centuries due to their healing and antibacterial properties. Both of these plays a very crucial role in the treatment of body lice. First of all, we have to extract the juice of the drumstick and then mix the same amount of sesame oil seeds into the juice and then heat the mixture until the water starts evaporating. Allow the mixture to cool for some time and then apply it to the affected area. This will kill all the lice. The mixture must be applied twice a day.
- TEA TREE OIL: Tea Tree Oil has numerous health benefits and is one of the most frequently used natural remedy for acne. It further helps smoothen and repair damaged skin. Due to the antibacterial property of this oil, it has been widely used in the treatment of body lice. You can either use the Tea Tree oil to disinfect your contaminated clothes by washing the clothes in a mixture of water and tea tree oil. You can also apply the tea tree oil directly on the affected skin. Do note that Tea Tree Oil is considered quite strong if you have sensitive skins, dilute the oil with water and apply it.
- YOGURT AND LAVENDER: One of the most effective yet obscure combination to kill body lice infestation is to use a mixture of yogurt and lavender. Lavender is best known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties which will kill body lice quickly, while yogurt is renowned for its instant relief from itching and also helps prevent further body lice attacks. Just mix yogurt and lavender in equal proportion and apply the mixture over the affected area.
- MUSTARD OIL AND FENUGREEK SEEDS: You can also use Mustard oil along with fenugreek seeds for the treatment of body lice. Fenugreek seeds are best known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. This helps kill all body lice and the pungent smell of mustard oil further kill all lice eggs that might be hidden from sight. Here, the first thing we have to do is soak one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds overnight. Grind, the now soft, seeds and add some mustard oil to make a paste. Apply the paste all over your body and let it stay for at least half an hour. Rinse the paste off with water. Make sure to apply this paste every day to say goodbye permanently to body lice.
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Few more home remedies to get rid of body lice:
- Apply vinegar on the infected area. Vinegar clears rashes and stops the itching sensation caused by body lice bites. Thus vinegar helps prevent the spread of rashes and body lice infection. Vinegar can also kill body lice, but you need significant amounts of vinegar (a few cups) to do this and may also sting a lot.
- You can also dissolve some camphor powder in hot essential oils like sesame oil or eucalyptus oil to kill body lice and its symptoms immediately. Camphor has antibacterial and antiparasitic properties that kill body lice instantly. Allow the oil to cool a little before applying to prevent burns on your skin.
- Milk or ghee can also be applied to the infected area to prevent the spread of rashes and diseases. Both milk and ghee have antibacterial properties that cure itching and thereby prevent the spread of rashes caused by body lice bites. They do not, however, kill the body lice or nits.
PREVENTING BODY LICE FROM ENTERING THE BODY
The solution is quite simple. Since body lice thrive and spread in unhygienic conditions, you must keep yourself and your surroundings clean to prevent body lice from infecting you. You must bathe regularly with soap (or body wash) and shampoo to keep yourself clean and mop the floor of your home with Phenol and other brands to keep your home clean. Your clothes must also be washed regularly with detergents to kill body lice infesting clothes. They must also be machine dried before they are sun-dried to kill any traces of body lice.
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- How to get rid of pubic lice?
Pubic Lice (also known as crabs) are found attached to the skin or hair near your genitals. These are not dangerous, and despite what you might think, they are easy to get rid of.
The symptoms of pubic lice are intense itching. Remember that they do not cause any serious health problems and can be easily remedied with over the counter medicine.
- What is the difference between bed bugs and body lice?
Bed bugs and body lice might seem similar, but in actuality, they are completely different from each other. Treatments and control methods differ for both the pests and as a result, it is very important to know whether the bug you found on your bed is a bed bug or body lice.
Bed Bugs are small, reddish-brown insects. They have a flat, oval-shaped body and are typically about ¼ of an inch in size. The eggs and the nymphs are only 1/16 of an inch in length. Bed bugs are typically found in beds, bedding, near beds or in cracks of the wall. You can also find these on curtains or cushions.
Body Lice are tiny, gray/brown insects. While most body lice are oval-shaped, their size is only up to ⅛ of an inch in size. Similar to bed bugs, body lice eggs and nymphs are also 1/16 of an inch in length. Unlike Bed bugs, body lice are exclusively found on the host body. They will attach to clothing until they need to drink blood.
- Do I need to spray pesticide on my furniture to get rid of body lice?
No, body lice feed exclusively on human blood and are not harmful to the environment. Pesticides will not have any effect on them.