What is a lice infestation?

A lice infestation is a population of small parasites that live on the human body. The three types of lice that exist are head lice, body lice, and pubic, or crab, lice. All three forms of lice spread by skin-to-skin contact and can spread quickly. While they are all called “lice,” pubic lice are a different species of insect from head and body lice.

Body lice can carry diseases, but they are very rare in the United States. Head lice and pubic lice never carry disease. All forms of lice can be irritating and are contagious. It’s best to treat them early on before they spread.

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What are the types of lice infestation?

Lice infestations are classified by the body part on which they reside. Different lice are attracted to different parts of the body.

Head lice attach to hair on the head and lays eggs at the base of a hair strand. They’re the most common form of lice and are contagious by close contact.

Body lice live on clothing and move to the body to feed. They’re most common on people with poor hygiene, as they can be easily eliminated by regularly bathing and washing of clothes.

Pubic lice mainly live on pubic hairs but can be found elsewhere on the body, including the armpits, chest hair, and facial hair. They lay eggs at the base of pubic hair and spread to other people through sexual contact.

What are the symptoms of a lice infestation?

Symptoms of lice infestation include:

  • itching at the site of the infestation
  • irritability
  • the presence of egg sacs or lice in hair or on clothing

Itching and irritation occur because the lice feed off blood in the human body.

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