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What are pubic lice?

Pubic Lice are often called "crabs". 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.

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 clothing.

Treatment

Treatment involves applying a medicated lotion or cream to the whole body from the neck downwards including facial hair.

It is important that any bedding and clothing is changed and washed at the time of treatment.

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. 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 at the same time.

What to do next