Those Lousy Lice!

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Part of the Master Gardener program involves learning all about insects. Many of these insects are interested in eating plant matter or other insects, but some are interested in eating us! Case in point: The lousy louse! Lice are species-specific, which means that lice that live on your dog will not want to bite humans, unlike fleas. There are three types of lice:

The Three Types of Lice

Head Lice – Head lice are usually issues for children, who have less developed immune systems than adults. Head lice do not carry any human disease, but will make an adult miserable as the more developed immune system will cause all sorts of itching and rashes. Kids often don’t even notice them, but pass them to anyone they contact.

Body Lice – Body lice appeared much more recently than head lice, probably related to the advent of humans wearing clothes (160,000 yrs ago, it is thought). Not washing your clothes and/or your body will cause an infestation of these critters. In the event of a societal collapse, your washing and laundry habits may suffer, and this will be a real issue for many preppers. Unlike head lice, body lice carry many diseases that can affect humans, diseases that are oftentimes more serious than just itching and rashes.

Pubic Lice – called by many names like Scabies (although my favorites is Crotch Crickets), These lice must live on hairy areas of the body. They are highly mobile and can go to any hairy region of the body (armpits, for example). They rarely cause systemic disease.

How Do I Get Rid of Lice?

These pests are treated with special shampoos and by combing lice eggs (known as nits) from hair follicles. Part of your medical preps should include shampoo and fine combs to eliminate the likely outbreak of lice (all three types) that the breakdown of good sanitation and hygiene could bring.

Don’t ignore the importance of hygiene, and the dangers of the lack of it in any off-grid setting. If you do, prepare for a LOUSY existence!

Dr. Bones

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