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'The Louse Danger', poster,United Kingdom, 1918

Produced by the Natural History Museum, (then attached to the British Museum), this poster explains the dangers of an insect known as the body louse. The louse is a carrier of diseases such as fever, typhus and trench fever. There is information about how to prevent and treat infestations. Common methods include applying heat and chemicals such as kerosene on to clothes and sheets, especially in the seams. Scratching when infested with lice was to be avoided at all costs as it irritated the skin even more. The magnified picture of a louse is alarming, designed to shock people into action.

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Glossary: poster

Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

Glossary: trench fever

No description.

Glossary: typhus

A severe and often fatal infectious disease. It is transmitted mainly by body lice. Its symptoms are high fever, stupor, intense headache, and a dark red rash.

Glossary: body lice

A small insect that attaches to the clothes and hair of humans. They thrive in unhygienic conditions and can transmit disease.