Pubic Lice and My Bed Sheets

If you have pubic lice the most important step to take, after the lice are gone, is to clean everything! Below you'll find more information on lice. Remember that lice is more common than many of us think; if you have lice be sure to tell any roommates or sexual partners that may be at risk.

What is Pubic Lice?

Pubic lice, or crabs, are small insects that eat human blood and live mainly in the pubic area, although they are sometimes found on facial hair, chest hair and in the armpits. Lice can grow up to 1/8 inch long. Lice eggs, or nits, often look like dandruff, but cannot be easily brushed out of the hair. A lice infestation occurs when a large number of lice live on a person. Lice of all kinds are spread by contact; pubic lice are no different, and are mostly spread through sexual contact.

How Do I Know If I Have Pubic Lice?

The most common symptom of pubic lice is severe itching. The bites from the lice will make small marks on your body. If the lice are on your face or near your eyes, it may cause the eyelids to be crusty. If you look closely, you will see lice. Avoid scratching too much as it can cause skin irritation and possibly infections.

How Did I Get Pubic Lice?

Most likely you got pubic lice through sexual contact. Lice can't fly or walk, but they do spread from direct contact.  However, lice can also be transferred through contact of personal items like sheets, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Sitting on a bed or couch recently used by a person with lice will spread it as well as lice can live two days off the body.

How Do I Wash Lice Off Of My Bedsheets?

Bedding is a common source of pubic lice. If you have pubic lice, be sure to immediately wash your bedding, and wash it daily. Since lice can live up to two days off the body, you need to make sure you're not getting more lice from your bedding. Consider any other surfaces that may have come in contact with the lice like couches, chairs and carpet.

Wash all sheets, blankets and mattress pads in very hot water, at least 130 Fahrenheit and dry on high heat for at least twenty minutes. Wash all clothing in the same manner. Any bedding that cannot be washed like a comforter or pillow should be put into airtight bags for at least two weeks. Be sure to vacuum as well, since lice from your clothing may have spread to the floor. Any other items that may have come in contact with lice, including a comb used to remove lice, should be washed in very hot water or immersed in rubbing alcohol for at least an hour.


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