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What is Lice?

Lice are tiny wingless insects that live on humans and animals (their hosts) and suck their blood.

Head lice are also called pediculosis.

What do Lice look like?

Adult lice are about the size of sesame seeds. Their color ranges from gray to brown.

Types of Lice

The three main types of lice that infect peep are: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice (crabs). Each type of lice bites your skin, causing extreme itching. If you scratch the bite, you can break the skin and get other skin infections.

How is Lice Spread?

Body-to-body contact, sexual intercourse, or sharing personal items such as brushes, hats, helmets, combs, and clothing helps spread lice.

What are the symptoms of Lice?

Each type of Lice has different symptoms. The most common symptoms are listed below.

Head Lice:

  • Itchy scalp.
  • Tiny grayish white, football-shaped eggs (about the size of a poppy seed) clinging to hairs close to the scalp.
  • Grayish or brownish insects one-eighth of an inch long or smaller. Look for them behind the ears or at the nape of the neck.
  • Sores on the scalp. Caused by scratching, these can become infected.

Body lice:

  • Red, raised bumps caused by bites on the shoulders, buttocks, and elsewhere on the torso.
  • Eggs (nits) on clothing, most often in the seams of underwear.

Pubic lice (crabs):

  • Itching in the genital region.
  • Tiny crablike insects on the skin in the crotch area.
  • Small dark specks, which are crab feces, on underwear.
  • Eggs (nits) attached to the base of pubic hair.


Treatment for lice is necessary. The treatment options depend on the area affected by lice. Your doctor can suggest, shampoos, soaps or detergents that will kill the lice. Lice must be treated! Not treating the skin areas where lice live can lead to infections. Severe infections can cause a fever.

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