What are pubic lice?
Pubic Lice are often called "crabs". Technically, they are
called ectoparasites. They are tiny insects, just about visible to
the naked eye and as their name suggests look like crabs.
Pubic lice cling onto human hair particularly in the pubic area
but can affect hair in the armpits, legs, chest, beard and
eyelashes, but not usually on the scalp as it is too cold (unless
you always wear a warm hat!).
How can I catch pubic lice?
Pubic lice are passed on through close personal contact with
someone who is carrying the lice and their eggs on their body.
Intimate contact includes sexual contact but you don't have to have
had sex to catch them. Sharing a bed with someone who is infected
can allow the lice to transfer between your bodies.
How will I know if I have lice?
The infected hairy area of the body becomes itchy. You might see
dark specks or black dots, which are the lice or eggs. The eggs can
only be removed with difficulty as they cling to the hair fibres.
Sometimes you might see the lice moving. They occasionally drop off
and may be seen in your underwear or along the seams and zips of
Treatment involves applying a medicated lotion or cream to the
whole body from the neck downwards including facial hair. Some
creams have to be used with care because they can irritate the
eyes, because of this petroleum jelly (Vaseline) can be used on
eyelashes if they are affected. With care, some of the antiparasite
creams can also be used on eyelashes.
It is important that any bedding and clothing is changed and
washed at the time of treatment.
The initial application is left on the skin overnight and then
rinsed off in the morning, followed by a second application at 7
days. Close personal and sexual contacts need to be checked and
treated if necessary to prevent re-infection.
Can I buy this treatment?
Yes, the treatments are available from pharmacies and chemists.
There are different brands such as Lyclear dermal rinse, Derbac M
and Full Marks. Ask your pharmacist for advice.
Do I need to have a sexual health check-up?
If you are sexually active and think you might have been at risk
of catching an infection then coming to a specialist clinic like
Sandyford is a good idea. We can also treat your lice infection at
the same time.
If you are sexually active you should come to a Sandyford clinic for a sexual health