Body lice are tiny insects the size of a sesame seed. Body lice live in your clothes and bed linens and feed on your blood several times per day. Bite sites are most common around the neck, shoulders, armpits, waist, and groin areas where clothing seams are most likely to touch the skin.
Body lice are common in highly crowded and unsanitary living conditions, such as refugee camps and homeless shelters. They can also be transmitted through contact with an infected person's clothing. Body lice bites can spread certain diseases and cause infestation. A body lice infestation occurs when a specific type of lice infests the body and clothing.
Body lice come in three stages: the egg (also known as a nit), the nymph, and the adult.
Nit: A nit is a lice egg. They are usually visible in the seams of an infected person's clothing, especially around the waistline and under the armpits. Body lice nits are occasionally found attached to body hair. They are oval and typically yellow to white. It may take 1–2 weeks for body lice nits to hatch.
Nymph: A nymph is a young louse that emerges from the nit. It resembles an adult body louse but is much smaller. Nymphs reach adulthood 9–12 days after hatching. They must feed on blood to survive.
Adult body louse: The adult body louse has six legs and is tan to greyish-white in color. Females conceive and lay eggs. Lice must feed on blood to survive. When a louse falls off a person, it dies in 5–7 days at room temperature.
If your case of body lice becomes severe, contact a healthcare professional immediately for medical assistance.
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