Recognize and combat clothes lice

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Recognize and combat clothes lice: combat

When intense itching robs sleep, body lice are high on the list of suspected culprits. Concerned people little comfort that the parasites have become rare. An infection with the bloodsuckers should not be taken lightly, because body lice transmit dangerous diseases. How to identify and effectively combat body lice is explained here.

Appearance and behavior

Lice are one of the human lice and are most likely originated from the head lice. In the course of evolution, as humans lost their body hair and wrapped themselves in clothing, this was the starting signal for the development of the clothes louse. The parasite specializes in humans and feeds exclusively on blood. His preferred abodes are the seams of clothing and underwear in close-to-body areas. Therefore, lice are also referred to as body lice. The cuddly warm retreats inside the clothes only leave the bloodsuckers to eat a blood meal several times a day and at night. As the largest kind among the human lice, Pediculus humanus humanus are to be found with the naked eye. These characteristics characterize clothes lice:
  • Length: 3 to 4.5 mm
  • Color of adult lice: brownish to whitish-yellow - after a blood meal rusty red
  • Color of the louse eggs (Nissen): white to cream
  • Location: on hems and seams in rosary-like arrangement
  • Moving: crawling (can neither fly nor jump)
Once body lice have settled on a human being, they multiply explosively. Females are sexually mature after 14 days at the latest and become about 40 days old. During this time they lay an average of 10 eggs per day. These stick the lice with waterproof putty in the seams and seams of the clothing in the form of long strings of pearls. The warmer the ambient temperature, the faster the fatal development progresses. Their maximum activity develop clothes lice at 27 to 30 degrees Celsius. Then the beasts move forward at 23 cm per minute. From about 40 degrees Celsius, it is too hot for the bloodsuckers and too cold at about 5 degrees Celsius.

Typical symptoms

Strong, long-lasting itching is the first symptom of a lice infestation. Especially at night infected people are tormented with it. Primarily in areas close to the body, such as under the armpits, on the waistband or in the genital area, itches unbearably. But also in all other parts of the body, the parasites bite to soak up the blood. Only the head is spared and reserved for smaller head lice.
As a further indication, the bite sites turn reddish initially. As the victims can not resist the itching for long, the scratches and the typical appearance of a 'vagabond skin' form with countless, tiny scars, surrounded by light and dark discoloration. As bacteria and fungi enter the skin via scratches, eczema is a widespread consequence.

Detecting dress lice - That's how it works

Cloth Louse - Body Lice - Pediculus humanus

If the symptoms point to an attack with dress lice, act immediately and convince yourself with your own eyes. How to get rid of the parasite:
  • Ensure good lighting
  • Accurately inspect clothing and itchy skin with a reading magnifier
  • Examine underarm hair and other body hair with a lice comb (Nissenkamm)
Please pay attention to red bites, moving body lice and whitish shimmering cords from lice eggs. In seemingly sticky scales you are often dealing with nits.

Frequent transmission paths

Although clothes lice can not fly or jump, they are extremely contagious. Wherever people are less concerned with personal hygiene or lack sanitary facilities, the parasites easily switch from host to host. These transmission paths have emerged:
  • Close body contact
  • Shared clothing such as pullovers, T-shirts, pants and other textiles
  • Collectively used laundry, such as towels, sheets or blankets
  • Unclean mattresses and beds
  • Clothes from the second-hand shop or the clothing store
  • Dirty headrests and buses and trains
  • Rarely on paper money or in antiquarian books
While lice have become very rare in European life, parasites often occur in crisis areas and mass housing. Therefore body lice are a dreaded problem in homeless shelters and refugee shelters.
Tip: Do you stay voluntarily or professionally in mass housing or crisis areas? Then bend the bite through lice. Impregnate all your clothes and laundry with a detergent that is also used to protect against mosquitoes, such as Nobite clothing or Nobite thinner.

Health hazard potential

As tormenting itching and painful eczema are not bad enough, eating the bites through lice is a major threat to your health. In the historiography can be read that Napoleon lost on his campaigns by clothes lice and the associated diseases more soldiers than by force of arms. It is not the bites and stings that pose the danger of infection. When body lice are crushed by scratching, their excrement gets into the skin via the path of the wounds and can cause the following diseases:
  • Typhus fever (Typhus exanthematicus) with a mortality rate of up to 20 percent
  • Wolhynian fever, trench fever (Bartonella quintana), associated with severe pain and high fever
  • Relapsing fever, louse fever (Borrelia recurrentis) with repeated, strong attacks of fever
While trench fever and relapsing fever are now very rare, typhus fever is still of paramount importance. For this reason, any infestation by clothing lice as the main carrier immediately to the health department to report.
Tip: From a medical point of view, an infestation with dress lice is fatal. From a cultural historical point of view, human lice are a stroke of luck. The point in time when head lice and body lice differentiated genetically is the only indication for the dating of the first human clothing 110,000 years ago.

Effective fight

Cloth Louse - Body Lice - Pediculus humanus

The effective control of dressings is based on a combination of disinfection and maximized hygiene conditions. Clothes lice do not live directly on a person, so the entire environment is to be included in the treatment. Fortunately, remedies against common head lice are just as powerful against lice, as both parasites are closely related. How to combat body lice with success:
  • Clothes, laundry, bed linen, towels at 60 to 90 degrees wash or dry clean
  • Then disinfect with a lotion based on allethrin, such as Jacutin Pedicul Spray
  • Put non-washable textiles in a plastic bag and put in the freezer for 1 week
  • Alternatively, keep infected clothing airtight for at least 4 weeks
  • In an emergency heavily infested clothes and substances burn
The active ingredient allethrin destroys all types of lice, such as lice, head lice or pubic lice. The contact poison paralyzes the muscles of insects, causing them to suffocate. Experience has shown that one application is sufficient to destroy adult body lice and their nits. Please read the instructions carefully to avoid any errors in treatment. If the infestation by body lice is only discovered at an advanced stage, we recommend the use of a professional pest controller, which disinfects all rooms.
Tip: Bites from clothing lice can be treated with remedies that are also effective against mosquito bites. These include pens and gels, which primarily relieve the itching. Without chemistry, healing can be accomplished with a thermoelectric stitch healer, such as Bite-away, that fits into any handbag.

Hygiene is the best protection

In contrast to head lice, the infestation with lice is a clear indication of poor hygiene. Do not let it get that far. Penile cleanliness, the dangerous body lice can not stand and avoid consistently well-groomed people and spotless places. Change your clothes at close intervals. Wash or clean textiles, upholstered furniture and mattresses regularly. Avoid close physical contact with people who obviously neglect their personal hygiene. If you buy clothes in the second-hand shop or are dependent on the clothes closet, please wash all parts thoroughly before first wearing.

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