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5 Common Skin Parasites


Lice

There can be a stigma attached to having lice, but there shouldn't be. These parasites are as indiscriminate as they are widespread.

Lice are sesame seed-sized insects that feed off of blood, dead skin and body secretions. They include head lice, body lice and pubic lice (also known as crabs). The commonality between all three types is that they affix themselves to hair.

Lice infestations, or pediculosis, are highly contagious. They spread through direct contact or the sharing of hairbrushes, hats, clothing, towels and more. Once infected, it's pretty easy to figure out that lice are your problem. If your scalp, or another body part, becomes continuously and aggressively itchy, run a fine-toothed louse comb through the hair. If you notice whitish yellow specks on the comb, you're looking at nits, the discarded shells from hatched lice.

If you do have lice, a special shampoo or treatment with a chemical pediculide is necessary. The wash may need to be repeated if some lice remain after the first treatment. The other important step to getting rid of lice is laundering all clothes and linens in hot water.

The next parasite is just as tiny and just as feared.


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