What is Pediculosis Corporis?

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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 04 October 2019
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Pediculosis corporis is a skin condition caused by an infestation of body lice. The ailment is primarily the result of lice laying their eggs in the folds and seams of clothing. Lice are small parasites that are sustained by human blood. Their small size and penchant for burrowing in hard-to-access areas make them extremely difficult to identify. The lice that cause pediculosis corporis are typically the product of either poor hygiene practices or overcrowded living environments.

Body lice are the largest of the three known types of lice. They commonly measure 0.08&ndash0.12 inches (2–3 millimeters) in length. When not hiding in clothing, they are usually making contact with human skin, drawing out blood for nourishment.

Symptoms of pediculosis corporis include extreme itchiness, which may encompass the entire body or be limited to one specific region. The lice will produce tiny red bumps on the skin, another indicator of pediculosis corporis. If an individual finds lice in his or her clothing, experts advise doing a thorough body check to ensure none of the pests have infested the skin.

Pediculosis corporis can sometimes spread to other areas of the body, namely the head and groin areas. Head lice is called pediculosis capitis and is the most common type of lice infestation. Pediculosis pubis is the gathering of lice in the pubic hair.


There are several steps that can be taken to get rid of body lice. First and foremost, all clothing should be carefully checked for the presence of the pests, then washed thoroughly, and, if necessary, repeatedly. In extreme cases, burning or throwing the infested clothing away is likely the safest course of action to prevent a further influx. An individual with pediculosis corporis might also check bedding and furniture to ensure that no lice have burrowed into those areas as well.

A doctor will usually prescribe an ointment or cream to heal pediculosis corporis. It is advised to keep scratching to a minimum, as over-scratching an area can lead to skin infections and further complications. Infested individuals may also want to ensure those they come in contact with have not contracted any of the lice, which is a distinct possibility considering the creatures' contagious nature.

The key to preventing lice is good personal hygiene. Guaranteeing that clothes are washed regularly is another step to avoiding a body lice infestation and a diagnosis of pediculosis corporis. Bathing every day, following proper sanitary measures, and making sure an individual's surroundings are clean and disinfected are additional steps that can be taken.


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