Humans are capable of amazing scientific and technological advances. From inventing the wheel to walking on the moon and cracking the code of DNA, we've come a long way. But when it comes to relationships, have we really evolved that much? Communication is often impeded, signals get crossed, and we often get much more from a person than we bargained for. Take the case of pubic lice for example.
What are pubic lice or Phthirus Pubis, also known as "crabs"?
Imagine a six-legged creature, whitish gray or reddish brown, smaller than your pinky nail, and disguised as a miniature crab (when magnified) nesting in your pubic region. Itchy, pesky, unwelcome, and often with friends in tow, it sleepily rests on the hairs here, (or in some cases your armpit hair, beard, leg hair or eyebrows), and is seemingly in no hurry to leave.
How is pubic lice contracted?
Your visitor is a parasite, whose appearance is more than likely the result of a recent sexual encounter. The contraction could have also been made via an infested person's clothing or linens, but pubic lice are generally transferred from one warm pubic region to the next. Animals are not known to host this parasite. Nits, or eggs, are laid close to the hair shaft, and after an incubation of 7-10 days, the eggs hatch into nymphs. There are several cycles of nymphs which in turn, evolve into adult lice. The nymphs and adult lice then subsist on human blood, much like a leach or tic.
Are pubic lice life-threatening?
Body lice are known to transmit diseases, including typhus, however, pubic lice are not considered life-threatening. Nonetheless, it's best to get rid of them as soon as possible, for your own comfort and hygiene, and those you may be in contact with. Lice are not known to jump from one person to another; however, the itching discomfort caused by sensitivity to their saliva will more than likely motivate you to remove them as soon as possible.
How do I get rid of pubic lice?
- Pubic lice can be removed with forceps; shaving the area if possible, is recommended.
- Wash and dry the affected area.
- Put on clean clothing.
- Apply a medicated ointment or cream or the natural treatment of your choice.
- Wash in hot soapy water any towels, linens, blankets, clothing, or combs that may be infected.
- Thoroughly clean the bathroom, shower, and any area you may have had sexual contact.
- Notify any recent sexual partners of the infestation.
- Avoid sexual contact until the lice have been thoroughly removed.
How can pubic lice be prevented?
Unfortunately, condoms do not protect against the transmittal of pubic lice. Although not full-proof, always communicate any concerns to your sexual partners.
What do I do after seeing the doctor or obtaining medication?
Your doctor will know how to best treat your condition, and answer any questions you may have. If you experience discomfort, particularly infections or fever, after receiving advice and/or medication, contact him or her immediately.