URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/lice.html


Also called: Body lice


Lice are parasitic insects that can be found on people's heads and bodies. They survive by feeding on human blood. Lice found on each area of the body are different from each other. The three types of lice that live on humans are head lice, body lice (also called clothes lice), and pubic lice ("crabs").

Symptoms of lice may include

  • Intense itching
  • Rash
  • Visible nits (lice eggs) or crawling lice

Lice spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not spread human lice. Lice move by crawling. They cannot hop or fly. If you get lice, both over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available for treatment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Start Here

  • Lice (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • Parasites - Lice (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish

Diagnosis and Tests

Prevention and Risk Factors

Treatments and Therapies



Clinical Trials



Patient Handouts