WHAT ARE PUBIC LICE OR CRABS?
Pubic lice are an infestation caused by tiny 'crab' like insects which are between 1-2 mm diameter. The eggs (nits) are attached to the shaft of pubic hairs.
Pubic lice are usually found on the pubic and perineal skin, and can spread to other hairy parts of the body eg. eye lashes
HOW ARE PUBIC LICE TRANSMITTED?
Pubic lice are usually transmitted during sexual activity or intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can also be infected by sleeping in infected bed sheets. Many 'backpackers' will have experienced this infestation.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF PUBIC LICE?
- Symptoms of the pubic lice infestation are intense irritation or itch on the pubic areas which may be followed by secondary infection due to scratching. Little specks of blood stains on the underwear are also a sign of pubic lice infestation. Sometimes after scratching, the lice can be seen under the fingernails, their tiny legs moving.
WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM COMPLICATIONS OF PUBIC LICE INFESTATION?
- There are no long term complications having destroyed the adult lice and the eggs.
HOW ARE PUBIC LICE DIAGNOSED?
- Pubic lice are easily identified however the small size of this parasite may prove problematic in recognising for some people. A simple check is to see if the small eggs are attached to the pubic hair. Using you nails, simply slide off the egg and with a blunt side of a knife, crush the egg against a mirror or glass to see a small drop of fluid indiocating the item is an egg. Another method is to obtain a piece of black card and simply place the card under the genital area and scratch the pubic lice off and then watch for slow movement of the pubic lice on the card.
HOW IS NSU TREATED?
- Treatment is effective with topical applications of lice lotion. The sexual partners must also be treated.
CAN THE INFECTION RECUR?
- As long as all bed sheets and underclothes are washed thoroughly and all pubic lice and eggs are destroyed there should be no reoccurance.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
- Consult you pharamacist for a lotion to destroy the lice. Many children's 'nit' lotions will also kill pubic lice however check on the packaging to confirm this is the case or ask your pharamacis for advice.