Louse-lice are quite specific parasites. Generally speaking, they do not even refer to a separate species, but are just an evolutionary form of head lice that have changed their habits and lifestyle only in that short period that people dressed in clothes live on the earth.
Ward lice can not live in hair - their paws are not adapted for this, and therefore they do not usually stay on the head of a person. But they managed to adapt well to the habitation in clothes - in the folds of it, between the seams, in the jigs and pockets - confidently clinging to the fabric itself.
In general, a louse is a parasite that lives in clothes. Here, the louse-lice received several advantages: they had more space for food, they were safer than on the head, and in more comfortable conditions in general. Still, under the clothes a more stable microclimate is retained by a person than on the head. But there is such a fitness for parasitizing on clothes and their shortcomings, which we will talk about below.
How do the louse look?
The louse lice look very much like the head lice. These are small insects with a body length of about 3-4 mm, whitish or grayish-yellow with a characteristic slightly elongated abdomen. The photo shows a louse with a significant magnification under a microscope:
Louse lice do not have wings, which makes it easier for them to move in their hair. On the other hand, because of this feature, they do not have the ability to move easily and quickly between their masters.
In the photo - clothes lice on the fabric:
And in the next picture you can clearly see how the louse looks after the blood is poured:
On a note
An adult louse, especially after being saturated with blood, can be confused with a flea, as her abdomen darkens and slightly swells. However, lice can not jump, and if parasites from the site of bites simply creep, it's just lice. In the photo - a louse at the place of bite.
Larvae of louse lice differ from adult insects only in size - they reach a length from a half-millimeter to 1.5-2 mm. During the growth they three times molt, and after that turn into an adult insect.
Below in the photo you can see what the clothes louse looks like at the stage of the larva:
It is interesting
The larva is called only that stage of development of the lice, which follows directly behind the egg. The larva after the first molt is called a nymph.
Eggs of lice are called nits. A special secret they are attached to clothing, and tearing them away from it mechanically is very difficult. Each such egg has a slightly elongated shape and a length of about 0.5 mm. Usually, nits of clothing lice can be quite difficult to visually detect on clothes.
Lice on the human body are very different from other parasites. Bed bugs are much larger and have a darker color, fleas are high and far jump, and the ticks have 8 legs clearly expressed (in lice there are only 6 of them). Is that the smallest larvae of bedbugs can be confused with lice, but alone (without the simultaneous presence of large adults), these larvae are rare, and almost never creep under clothing.
Features of biology and nutrition of parasites
Louse-lice are typical hematophags, their only food is human blood. At the same time, they differ from most other parasites in that they prefer to live on the human body or in its immediate vicinity.
Head and pubic lice for permanent residence near the food source have learned to cling to their hair, that's why they live and bite mainly in the scalp. The louse lays most of the time on the inside of the underwear, only for food, moving to the human body. For this they are called even the native lice, as well as underwear lice.
On the photo below, you can see how the clothes lice look like they got drunk blood:
It is interesting
As already noted above, head and ward lice are different forms of the same species. In natural conditions, even on the body of one person, they usually do not meet with each other (still, they are separated purely geographically), but under experimental conditions they cross and give viable offspring. In this case, the offspring itself has more signs of head lice as the main form.
The body lice spend most of their time between the seams, in the folds and ruffles of clothing. The photo shows the accumulation of parasites on a synthetic insulation:
Lice avoid shiny, silk and satin clothing, like woolen and cotton fabrics.
Eat insects need at least 3-4 times a day, so the lice on the body are regularly and constantly. However, for the same reason, insects are forced to parasitize only on those people who rarely or never change clothes - if clothes are in the closet for 4-5 days, the louse can not get to the food and die of hunger.
This determines the contingent of victims of lice - vagrants, beggars, refugees, soldiers in the war, who can not regularly change clothes; lice in their underwear find an ideal haven. People who constantly wash the body and have at least two changes of underwear per week can not live with lice. In this they lose head lice.
Lingerie lice reproduce in clothing. Here, the nests develop in complete safety, and the larvae begin to lead the same way of life after the release from the eggs as the adult insects.
The optimum temperature for the dwelling and reproduction of lice: + 30-33 ° C. At a temperature of about + 15 ° C, the development of their nits stops, and at temperatures below minus 13 ° C and above + 60 ° C, parasites die. This feature of the biology of clothing lice allows you to get rid of them by non-chemical methods, for example, by simply washing clothes in hot water or by freezing clothes.
Bites of lice and their symptoms
Bites of lice - this, in fact, is one of the main problems caused by these parasites. When lice bite the body, a person can develop allergic reactions, severe itching, rashes and spots on the skin, and with too much biting pits - ulcers, furuncles and even pyoderma.
The picture below shows typical bites of lice. They are quite similar to flea bites , but they are distinguished by the absence of noticeable chains of several bites that are characteristic of bites of bugs and fleas:
Lice are characterized by the absence of a long proboscis for a bite, and therefore they are forced to immerse a part of their head in the skin. Because of this, the hole in the center of the bite is relatively large. In the photo below, you can see a louse during a bite:
It is due to the presence of superficial damage to the skin that bites of lice are easily different from scabies - with the last bites themselves, but there is a similar itch. In the photo below - irritation from scabies, well distinguishable from that of pediculosis:
Louse lice bite the body mainly in the lumbar region, buttocks, sides, neck, underarms and on the hips. In the scalp, they prefer not to bite.
Bites of lice cause a characteristic complex of symptoms, called in medicine by fetid lice or dressing lice and attributed to typical parasitic diseases.
Characteristic symptoms of the appearance of lice are:
- bites that usually heal within 3-4 days
- itching on the body, both in the area of bites, and next to them
- manifestation of an allergic reaction, from rash to generalized symptoms - fever, nausea, digestive disorders, headaches
- the appearance of blue spots of small size on the skin
- pustular rash
- nervous disorders due to constant itching.
Usually people infected with louse-lice find not the parasites themselves, but feel these symptoms first. In this case, it is very important to take timely measures to kill insects in order to prevent the appearance of boils at the site of bites and the development of purulent ulcers.
Typical symptoms of infection with native lice are not the worst thing that can happen after the appearance of these parasites. It is the clothing form of lice that is most often the carrier of the causative agents of typhus and recurrent typhus , diseases whose epidemics in the past were carried out by thousands of lives in wars and in the poor areas of large cities. Today outbreaks of these diseases appear mainly only in the countries of Asia and Africa, and they are connected mainly with lice.
How are the louse-wagons transmitted?
Despite the lack of mobility, clothing lice can spread quite effectively among people. As a rule, they are transmitted by close contact of an infected and healthy person, as well as when using someone else's clothes. This usually happens in:
- places of overnight strayers
- refugee camps, shelters during natural disasters
- trenches and tents during the military operations
- kindergartens and schools
- public transport
- saunas and public baths
- in hiking
- children's recreation camps
- dirty cheap hotels.
On a note
The louse can survive in the water for 2 days, and therefore they can, in exceptional cases, be transmitted on water even in open water. Such cases were recorded in India and Bangladesh.
By and large, any place of congestion can be a source of infection with lice. However, it is easier for them to be transferred precisely when people share clothes and linens.
Fighting lice and treating lice
Getting rid of clothes lice is not so difficult, and with the right approach, you can do it in just one day.
The easiest way is to go to a health service or a special detention center. The public there, of course, can embarrass even the most notorious optimist, but the means and methods of processing there are so powerful that they will make it possible to take out the louse lice literally for several hours.
You can get rid of native lice at home. To combat them you need:
- Remove all clothes, load it into a washing machine, add any modern remedy for clothing lice, and in the absence of such a product - vinegar or tar soap - and wash things at the highest possible temperature. In the ideal case, things should be boiled or handled dry cleaned for processing in the steam and coal chamber.
- Swim thoroughly, wash the body with a pediculicide cream or shampoo, soak the product on the body for half an hour, then rinse it thoroughly.
- Wear clean clothes that were stored in a closet or were eroded on the street for at least two weeks.
It is advisable to change the bed linen after that. You can not wear contaminated clothing on the contamination field.
Treatment of bites of lice lice is to treat them with alcohol lotions, balsams such as "Rescuer", means "Asterisk". In the presence of allergic reactions apply symptomatic treatment (means for headache, painkillers, decongestants) and antihistamines.
It is important to remember that fighting with ward lice and treating the consequences of their bites is always more difficult than avoiding infection initially. Therefore, to prevent pediculosis, you should avoid places where lice can get infected, do not contact unfamiliar and untidy people, do not spend the night in dubious places, use only their hygiene items and clothes, teach children to follow the rules of hygiene and sanitation.
Under these conditions, even in difficult life situations it is possible to avoid infection with lice and never get acquainted with pediculosis.
Getting rid of lice and nits at home for 1 procedure: