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Lice Bites

How To Identify The Bite

There are three species of lice that feed on people by taking a blood meal: the pubic louse, head louse and body louse. Identification of the feeding pattern of each species is probably one of the best ways to identify bites.

  • Pubic Lice / Crab Lice The pubic or crab louse usually bites in the pubic hair, armpit hair and sometimes in the eyebrows and beards of the body.

  • Head Lice The head louse usually feeds in and around the hair on the head.

  • Body Lice The body louse does not live on the human body, but comes to the body to take a blood meal and then goes to the persons clothing to reside. Another important difference with the body louse is that it can spread serious infectious diseases.

Symptoms Of Bites

Pubic Lice / Crab Lice

Pubic lice cause itching that often gets worse at night. The itching may start soon after getting bitten or it may not start for up to 2 - 4 weeks after contact. Other symptoms can include skin reactions that cause the skin to turn bluish-gray in color and sores in the genital area caused by bites and scratching. Careful examination will also result in finding both adult and immature pubic lice, plus eggs called nits.

Head Lice

Head lice also cause intense itching and small red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders. The tiny, white head lice eggs also called nits are glued to the hair.

Body Lice

Body lice live and lay their eggs in the seams and folds of clothing that is worn and infrequently changed and worn by people who do not have access to regular personal hygiene facilities. The body louse only moves to the body to take a blood meal. When body lice infestations are persistent, heavily bitten areas of the skin can become thickened and darkened, particularly around the waist, groin and upper thigh.

Always seek the advice and care of a physician for the treatment of lice bites.

Why Do They Bite?

Lice bite in order to get a blood meal from their host.

Risks Associated With Infections?

Some people may develop a secondary bacterial skin infection from scratching and not keeping the areas of the body that lice infest clean and disinfected.

How To Identify Bites On Pets

The lice that infest pets are different species than those infesting humans. People do not get lice from pets, nor do pets get lice from their owners. Symptoms of lice that infest dogs or cats include:

  • Itching and scratching

  • Dry, disheveled-looking coat

  • Hair loss around the ears, neck, shoulders and rectal area

  • Anemia, particularly in young pets with a severe infestation


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