What are Pubic Lice?
Lice are tiny insects that can live on people and feed off of their blood, and can be up to one eights of an inch long. Lice eggs, or nits, often look like dandruff, but cannot be easily brushed out of the hair. An infestation occurs when a large number of lice live on a person.
Pubic lice is often called crabs, and is most commonly found on pubic hair, but can also be found on facial hair, chest hair and in the armpits. Lice of all kinds are spread by contact; pubic lice is no different, and is mostly spread through sexual contact.
What Are the Symptoms of Pubic Lice?
Most commonly, pubic lice will cause 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. Lice are usually found on kids in school, as the close proximity and potential for sharing hats and other items increases their risk. Lice can even move from one hat to another in a coat closet. However, lice can also be transferred through contact through personal items like sheets, pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. Sitting on a bed, couch or even toilet seat recently used by a person with lice will spread it as well as lice can live two days off the body.
How Can I Treat My Pubic Lice?
A doctor can look at the area and determine if you have pubic lice. Most commonly, an onver the counter cream, lotion or shampoo is the easiest way to treat lice of all kinds. The cream is put on the infected area and kills the lice and eggs. Occasionally a second treatment is necessary to be sure the lice are gone. If your pubic lice are resistant to treatment, your doctor can give you a prescription.
What About My Bedding?
It's important to wash all bedding, clothing and anything else that may have come in contact with the lice. Wash in hot water of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and dry on high heat for at least twenty minutes. Wash combs or anything else that can't go in the washing machine in very hot water, or soak in rubbing alcohol for at least an hour. If there are items you cannot immerse in water, seal them in an airtight back for at least two weeks. Be sure to vacuum your floors thoroughly just in case. These tips are applicable for head lice as well.