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Lice

Lice are parasitic insects that can be found on people's heads and bodies. They survive by feeding on human blood. Lice found on each area of the body are different from each other. The three types of lice that live on humans are head lice, body lice (also called clothes lice), and pubic lice ("crabs").

Symptoms of lice may include
  • Intense itching
  • Rash
  • Visible nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice
Lice spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not spread human lice. Lice move by crawling. They cannot hop or fly. If you get lice, both over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available for treatment.


Head Lice

Head lice are parasitic wingless insects. They live on people's heads and feed on their blood. An adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed. The eggs, called nits, are even smaller - about the size of a knot in thread. Lice and nits are easiest to detect at the neckline and behind the ears.

Head lice are extremely contagious. Close contact or sharing personal belongings, such as hats or hairbrushes, puts people at risk. Children ages 3-11 and their families get head lice most often. Personal hygiene has nothing to do with getting head lice. Head lice do not spread disease.

Symptoms are
  • Tickling feeling in the hair
  • Frequent itching
  • Sores from scratching
  • Irritability and difficulty sleeping. Head lice are most active in the dark.
Treatment for head lice is recommended for people with an active infestation. All household members and other close contacts should be checked. Anyone who has an active infestation should be treated. All infested people and their bedmates should be treated at the same time.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Schedule an appointment with Ohio State's experts in dermatology. Call 614-293-1707. To speak with our skin cancer experts, call Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at 614-293-5066.