What are the treatment options for body lice in pediculosis and pthiriasis (lice infestation)?

Updated: Aug 16, 2019
  • Author: Lyn C C Guenther, MD, FRCPC, FAAD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

In the treatment of body lice, medications are less essential than environmental measures. Patients with body lice should have infested clothing, bedding, and towels laundered with hot water (at least 130°F) and then dried in a dryer using a hot setting. [10] For items that cannot be washed in a washing machine, the CDC recommends dry-cleaning or sealing and storing for 2 weeks in a plastic bag. [13] If the patient maintains hygiene with regular appropriate laundering of clothing, changes into clean clothing at least weekly, and avoids the sharing of clothing, beds, bedding, and towels used by other infested individuals, pediculicides are generally not required. If hygiene cannot be maintained, treatment with a pediculicide used to treat head lice may be necessary. Fumigation or dusting with chemical insecticides is occasionally needed to control and prevent spread of louse-bourne infections. [10]


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