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Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Pubic lice are tiny parasitic organisms that look like insects with segmented torsos and claws for clinging to hair. They may be transmitted by many kinds of close contact, not just by sexual contact. Slightly more women than men become infested with pubic lice.

Head and body lice survive 7 to 10 days without a host. Whereas pubic lice (crabs) survive about 2 days off of their host. Any eggs that were laid will hatch after 5 to 10 days.

A person may suspect lice from a known exposure, through visual identification of lice or eggs, and itching. If these indicators are present, they are diagnosed with lice. Symptoms: lice may cause irritation ranging from slight discomfort to severe itching; nits or adult lice may be seen on pubic hairs.

Treatment: over the counter medications in the form of cream rinses or shampoos.

All hairy areas of the body can be infested with any of the three types of lice. Hence, all hairy areas should be treated as follows:

General Measures

  • To destroy all eggs and lice, collect all contaminated clothing, hats, towels, combs, brushes, bedding, etc. and wash with hot water. If an item cannot be laundered, take it to the dry cleaner or place it in the dryer for 20 minutes on high/hot.
  • Spray couches, chairs, car seats, and other items that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned with an over-the-counter treatment such as Rid or place in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Any sexual contacts should treat for lice as well.
  • Warn household members and close contacts about the possibility of contracting lice. However, they will not need to treat unless there is evidence of contamination.

Specific Treatment
Head Lice: On dry hair, apply over-the-counter lice treatment shampoo, such as Nix, until all hair is completely coated. Generic products are also available, just ask your pharmacist. Leave shampoo on hair for 10 minutes or as directed. Do not add water until you are ready to rinse, then rinse thoroughly. Be sure to follow general measures listed above as well. Repeat head lice treatment in 7 to 10 days to destroy possible surviving eggs.

Body Lice: Apply an over-the-counter lice treatment lotion to the entire body. Generic products are available, just ask your pharmacist. Leave lotion on for 8 to 10 hours or as directed. Rinse thoroughly. Follow general measures for treatment as well. Repeat body lice treatment in 7 to 10 days to destroy possible surviving eggs.

Pubic Lice: Without water, apply over-the-counter lice treatment shampoo, such as Nix, to all body hair. Generic products are available, just ask your pharmacist. You should treat head and body hair as well as your pubic hair. Leave shampoo on for 10 minutes or as directed. Do not add water until you are ready to rinse. Then rinse thoroughly. Also follow all general measures listed above. Repeat pubic lice treatment in 7 to 10 days to destroy possible surviving eggs.

The health information provided on emmagoldman.com is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Nothing stated by this website or linked pages should be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have an urgent medical problem call 911 immediately or contact your healthcare provider.

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