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Subcutaneous lice in humans

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Pediculosis is probably familiar to everyone. This disease is most often found in kindergartens and schools. Once someone gets lice, they quickly spread to the entire group. This is a fairly well-known and easily treatable disease.

There is an opinion about the presence of subcutaneous lice in humans. However, this is just a myth. Anyone can experience lice, regardless of social status or lifestyle. Various factors contributed to this myth.

Where does the myth about subcutaneous lice come from?

The presence of these external parasites is known to primarily cause unbearable itching. However, for some people, the same sensation may be caused by scabies mites, which cause scabies, a different disease that is caused by an entirely different insect.

Additional factors that contribute to myths about lice living under the skin include:

Microscopic sizes of parasites that are difficult to notice with ordinary eyes. Many uninformed people believe that if lice are not visible on the skin, then they cannot be detected deep in the skin.

The scabies mite, which causes scabies, is little known among most people. Because they are even smaller than lice, these parasites cannot be seen without a microscope. People seeking to explain the unknown sometimes make unscientific assumptions.

Currently, both causative agents of scabies and pediculosis have been well studied and described. With a more detailed understanding of these parasites, even a non-professional in medicine will be able to understand the causes of parasitic infections and distinguish them from each other.

Subcutaneous lice - myth or reality

This legend has ancient roots. Severe itching under the skin has long been considered a sign of subcutaneous lice in humans. When medicine began to develop as a science, researchers were able to discover lumps under the skin filled with insect eggs, which only strengthened the belief in the existence of such parasites. Treatment, in particular the use of sulfur ointment, gave positive results. However, it is worth noting that subcutaneous lice have never existed in humans.

Substitution of concepts

Today, science has advanced greatly, and medical advances are ahead of those with which our ancestors had to be content. It was thanks to this that it was possible to distinguish between two diseases that formed the basis of the myth about subcutaneous lice in humans.

Lice live only on the surface of the body as small external parasites. They are easy to detect and cannot penetrate the skin due to physiological limitations. Breathing air, they die if access to oxygen is blocked. If they get into a wound, they tend to immediately come to the surface rather than go deeper.

On the other hand, scabies mites cause scabies and can actually live under the skin. However, these are tiny parasites and not subcutaneous lice. Their presence on the human body can cause intense itching, but the insects responsible for it are not visible on the surface of the skin.

The similarity between them is manifested in the occurrence of irritation and constant itching. The birth of the myth is associated with the need to explain the intense itching that could be caused by both types of parasites.

Subcutaneous lice - myths and reality

Biology of lice and mites

All lice are external parasites that live, feed and reproduce exclusively on the body of their host. In the process of long evolution, parasites have developed an optimal structure that allows them to easily move and stay in human hair. They have special hooks on their limbs that provide reliable attachment to the hair, and their body is covered with villi that help them stay on the host’s body.

Ectoparasites cannot exist under the skin at any stage of their development, and even if they accidentally penetrate the wound, they tend to immediately leave it.

The scabies mite, a distant relative of the causative agent of encephalitis and spiders, has eight legs and a developed mouthparts, with which it bites into the body of the host. Its presence on the body is not always noticeable, but can be indicated by intense itching and skin irritation. As a result of scabies mite bites, blisters and inflammation may appear on the skin, and when palpated, you can detect passages left by the mite under the skin.

Signs of lice and scabies mites have many common features, but also have clear differences:

— Ticks do not live on the head, while lice prefer the scalp or pubic area.
- Scabies mites most often live in the spaces between the fingers, armpits, elbows, genitals in men and buttocks, while lice can live in other areas of the body.

If itching and rash appear, you should consult a doctor to establish an accurate diagnosis.

Lice or tick - how to distinguish

It is not difficult to identify the difference between these diseases even at home, despite the similar symptoms. The most important difference between lice and scabies mites is their different habitats. Lice live in areas with thick hair, usually the scalp. Although theoretically they can also settle on the pubic area, this is rather the habitat of less noticeable and small lice, which are much more difficult to detect and destroy. At the same time, large insects live on the head, which can be easily seen with the naked eye.

Determining the presence of subcutaneous lice is also quite simple. To do this, you do not need to look at strands of hair for a long time; it is enough to examine the skin on a person’s hands. Itching most often affects the areas between the fingers. The scabies mite makes subcutaneous passages that are easy to detect; just put on gloves and feel the suspected areas. At an advanced stage of the disease, bumps may appear on the skin - these are places where insect eggs are laid. As a result of constant scratching of the skin, crusts appear. In contrast, lice do not leave bite marks on the head.

how to distinguish a louse from a tick

Causes of lice

Pediculosis is a rather unpleasant disease that can be detected even in clean people.

There are three types of parasites:

1. Linen animals that live in close proximity to humans in bedding and clothing.
2. Cephalic, preferring to settle in the hair of the head, but capable of migrating to the armpits and pubis.
3. Pubic, living on pubic hair, and also found on eyelashes and eyebrows.

As for their origin, linen parasites are transmitted through shared sets of linen and clothing. Improved sanitation, regular washing and ironing of clothes will help eliminate these insects. Pubic ectoparasites are most often transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person or through shared underwear.

The appearance of head lice is often associated with visiting public places. These insects are characterized by good mobility, which allows them to easily move from one person to another. Children in kindergartens and primary classes, as well as in camps, often become infected with lice by sharing combs, towels, headphones and scarves.

Treatment of pediculosis

Complete elimination of ectoparasites requires time and patience. There are several ways to combat head lice:

1. Mechanical method, which includes combing with a special comb with fine teeth, which helps get rid of adults and nits. If the lesion is severe, it is often necessary to shave the hair completely, especially in men and small children.

2. Chemical destruction of parasites includes the use of special medications containing insecticides. Before using such drugs, it is important to consult a doctor to avoid harm to the patient's health. Insecticidal products are presented in the form of shampoos, creams, lotions and aerosols.

3. Traditional methods of treating head lice are based on the use of natural insecticides, such as tar and sulfur soap, fresh cranberry and pomegranate juice, hellebore water and vinegar solution.

After treating your hair with any of the methods, you must comb your hair thoroughly to remove dead insects and nits. It is also important to examine all family members for infection and notify the medical staff of the educational institution to prevent the spread of the disease.

Life Cycle of Head Lice

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