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Infestation with body lice is marked by intense itching, esp. on the neck, trunk, and thighs. Tiny hemorrhagic points identify the bites. Generalized excoriation, mild fever, and fatigue characterize heavy infestations. In severe cases, pustules may develop.
The patient first bathes with hot soap and water and then applies prescribed creams containing approved pesticides to affected areas.
The patient should be assessed for diseases that body lice may transmit. If the patient is homeless or impoverished, social services agencies should be contacted to assist him or her to find shelter and clean clothing. If the patient lives with others, close personal contacts or family members should be screened for lice. All clothing, furniture, rugs, and bedding must be washed with hot water or dry cleaned. To prevent transmission of pediculosis among hospitalized patients, all high-risk patients should be examined for evidence of hair or body lice infestation on admission. Health care professionals should be careful to include older adults who are dependent on others for care, those coming from nursing homes or other assisted living facilities, and people living in crowded conditions.