Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Parasites that Breed On and In Your Skin


5
Lice
Lice are hard to spot, but their eggs aren't.
Lice are hard to spot, but their eggs aren't.
BananaStock/BananaStock/Thinkstock

The common louse is a real pest. There are three broad categories of lice that plague humans -- head, body and pubic lice. Lice feed by biting and drinking the blood of their hosts. Body lice don't live on the skin itself -- they inhabit clothing and only move to the skin to feed. But head and pubic lice live directly on the skin.

The louse can't fly or jump -- it can only crawl. When a louse lays eggs, it does so at the base of a shaft of hair. The eggs -- or nits -- are oval and usually white, yellow or a color similar to that of the hair to which they're attached. Larvae hatch from the eggs after a few days. A little more than a week later, the larvae have matured into adults capable of reproducing.

There are several treatments for lice. Most of these treatments are in the form of medicated shampoos. Human lice are transferred by close contact with infected humans -- in other words, you won't catch lice from animals.


More to Explore