They say size matters but it certainly, ain’t true in the case of body lice. These leech-like tiny parasites (invisible to the naked eye) that live on our skin and in the seams of our clothes and linen not only sate themselves by s*cking on our blood but multiply in the crevices they occupy by laying more eggs, depositing their waste in the folds of our bodies and personal belongings and creating an increasingly frustrating not to mention, contagious problem of itching.
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Body lice infestation is primarily caused due to poor hygiene practices- like reusing dirty clothes, skipping a bath for days altogether, using infected clothes or items or taking improper care of yourself. Body lice can spread by close contact with the infected person or the person’s belonging. Body lice isn’t spread by pets. An unheeded case of body lice, if left as such, can cause complications such as secondary infections, skin changes and the onset of other diseases. Skin irritation is a common result of body lice infestation- however, raw skin (drained of blood and left exposed due to persistent scratching)is susceptible to other infections. If you leave an infestation unattended for a long time, you may begin to see your skin thicken or discolor in areas most prone to infection such as your upper thighs, groin or waist. Body lice are notorious for leaving their eggs (nits) and waste on your skin and in the seams of your clothes and linen- and may act as carrier for several other bacterial diseases such as typhus, relapsing fever or trench fever.
If you begin to notice swollen rashes or bumps on your skin that evoke an irrefutable urge to scratch or itch, you may want to sweep off some ointments or lotions from the drugstore to ward off these tiny *giant-pain-in-the-a*s* creatures. However, if you need a more permanent solution to fight body lice and wish to exterminate these insects from your life for good, you may want to turn to home remedies for body lice.
The home remedies for body lice are gentler on the skin, enable removal of these parasites from all contaminated surfaces and can be prove to be effective albeit natural methods of fighting the situation. Here are the most effective home remedies for body lice:
1. Fenugreek and mustard oil
Known for their antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial properties, fenugreek seeds can help ward off body lice. When mixed with a strong-smelling oil like mustard, the duo kill any body lice and eggs on the surface of the skin and also lower the chances of contracting any infestation in future. Grind fenugreek seeds soaked overnight into a thick paste and add some mustard oil. Apply this mixture all over your body and allow it to dry for 20-30 minutes. Rinse off with soap and water. Regular use of the mixture can help eliminate the problem.
2. Camphor, coconut oil and milk
Mixing 1tbsp of camphor and coconut oil each to a cup of milk to create a smooth mixture for an all-over application, gentle massage and consequent drying -out span of about 20-30 minutes in regular use can prove to be a highly efficacious method for eliminating body lice.
3. Tea-tree oil and yoghurt
A tbsp of tea-tree oil mixed with yogurt can act as a potent mixture to fight body lice infestations. The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties of yogurt combine with the healing properties of tea-tree oil to create a blend that works kill body lice as well as reduce skin inflammation, itchiness and infection to a large extent. Tea-tree oil helps to heal the affected area. Regular use of the mixture is highly recommended for cases that have moved beyond the mild plane.
4. Neem and turmeric
Grind raw turmeric and neem leaves into a fine paste for an all-over application. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes and rinse it off afterward. Use the mixture 3-4 times a week for effective results. Known for their antiseptic and healing properties, neem and turmeric shall kill body lice whilst reducing the skin rashes and inflammation.
5. Yogurt and lavender
While lavender is known for its antiseptic properties and an insect-repellent fragrance, yogurt is an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent that can fight off body lice. As such a yogurt and lavender mixture can cleanse your body of lice and eggs, reduce the inflammation and heal affected areas.
6. Apricot extracts
The most effective for severe cases of body lice infestation, apricot juice is used for an all-over application and then, rinsed off with lukewarm water for best results. Known to treat excessive skin bites that cause skin follicles to break and severe lesions- apricot works to kill body lice as well as restore the damaged skin.
7. Drumstick leaf and sesame oil
Drumstick leaf extracts have anti-bacterial properties that can fight body lice while sesame oil works as a natural healer to soothe skin rashes. A combination of the two can prove to be a highly effective home remedy for body lice. Mix equal amounts of drumstick leaf extract and sesame oil and heat till you see the water evaporating. Let the mixture settle down and then apply it all over your body. Let it dry over a period of 20-30 minutes before rinsing off or bathing with lukewarm water.
Vinegar, owing to its acidic properties, can provide instant relief by killing body lice. However, its acidic base can also prove to be harmful to the skin, especially when it is raw and scathed from consistent scratching. To avoid the corrosion, vinegar needs to be diluted with an equal proportion of vegetable oil so that body lice are killed whilst the skin is shielded from any harmful effects by the acidic content in vinegar.
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9. Hot treatment
Washing infested bedding, clothing and/or other contaminated items in hot, soapy water (at least 130° F) and machine drying them on high heat afterward for a minimum of 20 minutes is the first crucial step to eliminating the body lice situation. Clothing that can’t be washed needs to be subject to dry cleaning and ironing. Items that can’t be washed (think mattresses, couches or upholstered furniture) need to be hot-ironed and/or sprayed with lice killing sprays to eliminate lice and their nits. They can also be locked afterward or set out in the sun, avoiding any contact for a week. Regular bathing and changing clothes everyday whilst avoiding contact with an infected person is also mandatory.
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