crabs, lice, pubic -

Pubic Lice (Crabs)



Pubic Lice (Crabs)

CRABS (Pubic Lice)

  • What is it? Tiny insects that live off human blood. Although they're often found around the genitals, they can live in any part of the body with hair.
  • How is it contracted? Through sexual transmission, skin-to-skin contact, or in clothing, bedding, or on a toilet seat harboring the insects.
  • Incubation Period: As long as a week if it's the first time you've had pubic lice; as little as a day if this is a recurrence.
  • Symptoms: Itching in the genital area or any other part of the body with hair.
  • Testing: Pubic lice are very small, whitish-gray parasites that look like crabs. You'll be able to see the insects or their eggs (which are pearl-colored and oval-shaped) in your hair. You may notice that the skin under your hair is red and scaly, or there may be small blue spots -- signs of lice bites. If you're unsure whether or not you have lice, see your doctor.
  • Treatment: Over-the-counter lotions that contain the chemical permethrin such as Rid and Nix will get rid of the lice. (Talk to your doctor before using any product that contains the chemical lindane, which can be toxic, especially for unborn children.) After washing with the lotion, use a fine-toothed comb to comb out the crabs and their eggs (called nits). Your sexual partner(s) must be treated as well, and all clothing or bedding that may be infested must be washed in very hot water or dry-cleaned. In some cases, clothing, towels, or bedding may need to be washed a few times before they're completely lice-free.
  • If you are not treated: If you don't seek treatment you're likely to pass pubic lice on to any sexual partners, or anyone else you're in close contact with.

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