Body lice

  • Alternative Names

    Lice - body; Pediculosis


    Body lice mainly live in clothing. Destroy or carefully wash infected clothing in hot water (at least 130 degrees F), then machine dry using a hot cycle.

    Your doctor may also recommend a prescription cream or wash containing permethrin, malathione, or benzyl alcohol.

    However, hygiene and washing clothes, bedding, and towels are most important and are usually enough.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    With effective treatment, the lice can be completely eliminated.


    Another (secondary) skin infection may occur from scratching. In rare cases, body lice may carry uncommon diseases, such as relapsing or trench fever. Because body lice is contagious, other family members may want to be treated.

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you have lice in your clothing or persistent itchiness.