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Treatment for Body Lice

Because body lice live primarily on clothing, washing the infested person's clothing in hot water is an important part of getting rid of body lice. Clothing that cannot be washed may be thrown away or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks. Occasionally, treatment for body lice can also include medications, such as pyrethrin or permethrin.

An Overview of Treatment for Body Lice

Body lice live primarily on clothing. Therefore, in a lot of cases, they can be treated by giving the infested person a clean change of clothes and a shower, and by laundering or throwing away all worn clothing, bed linens, and towels. In some cases, medications may be needed in order to treat body lice.
 

Treating Clothes and Other Items

For the treatment of body lice, specific steps should include:
 
  • To kill lice and nits (eggs), machine-wash all washable clothing and bed linens that the infested person wore or used during the ten days before treatment. Use the hot water (130°F) cycle. Dry laundry using high heat for at least 20 minutes.
     
  • Store all clothing, comforters, etc. that cannot be washed into a plastic bag; seal for two weeks. Alternatively, these items can be thrown away.
     

Medications to Treat Body Lice

Occasionally, a 1-percent pyrethrin or permethrin lice shampoo may need to be applied to the body. This medication should be applied exactly as directed on the bottle or by your healthcare provider.
 
Pyrethrin
Pyrethrins are natural extracts from the chrysanthemum flower. Though safe and effective, pyrethrins kill only crawling lice, not unhatched nits. Brand-name pyrethrum shampoos include:
 
  • Rid®
  • A-200®
  • Clear®
  • R&C®.
     
Some recommendations when using this type of lice treatment include the following:
 
  • Always carefully follow the instructions on any lice treatment product.
     
  • If you see lice moving 10 minutes after the treatment, don't assume the treatment didn't work. It may take up to 20 minutes after a treatment for lice to die.
     
  • Using treatment products more often than recommended can cause serious side effects. Remember, these are pesticides!
     
  • Do not reapply any pesticide product for at least seven days after the first treatment.
     
  • Most of these products can be bought as a package with a lice spray. Evidence shows that lice sprays are not effective at killing lice or nits. They will only put poisons into the air. Save your money and avoid buying lice sprays.
     
Permethrin
Permethrins are similar to natural pyrethrins. Permethrins are safe and effective, and may continue to kill newly hatched lice for several days after treatment. One brand-name product is Nix®, which has 1 percent permethrin.
 
Some suggestions when using this type of lice treatment include the following:
 
  • Always carefully follow the instructions on any lice treatment product.
     
  • Do not reapply any pesticide product for at least seven days after the first treatment. Using these products more frequently than recommended can cause serious side effects. Remember, these are pesticides!
     

Lice on Body (Body Lice)

Treatment for Body Lice Images

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Body Lice Body Lice (female) Crab Lice
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