Pubic Lice

Pubic lice are also known as crabs and pediclosis pubis. They live and are transmitted through course hair, with sexual intercourse proving a common method of spread. These lice can live for one to three weeks, laying up to three hundred eggs in the course human hair. Furthermore, they can often spread from bed sheets, as they can live up to twenty four hours away from the human body which it relies on for blood. They are two millimetres long and their eggs usually hatch after six days and are often visible to sufferers.

What are the symptoms?

Itching and an inflammation of the infected area of hair are common. Itching red pimples may appear, some one to three weeks after initial contact. The itching itself will also often be worse during the night. Black powder like spots may also be found in the sufferer’s underwear as well as blue spots on the skin where the lice are present.

What can Pubic lice lead to?

If the lice are left to continue laying eggs without disturbance, itching will intensify and the situation may lead to an infestation of the hair on the body which would be a highly alarming set of circumstances for a patient to find themselves in. The continued irritation of the skin can lead to more serious infections like the contagious bacterial skin infection impetigo or the emergence of boils formally known as furunculous. If eye lash hair becomes infected problems like blepharitis where the eyelids become inflamed, conjunctivitis or even ulceration of the cornea can occur while may lead to loss of site.

How do I diagnose it?

A doctor will look for any dark powder like specks in the underwear as well as red pimples and blue spots on the skin. However, pubic lice infestation can only be confirmed if evidence of live lice or eggs is found. If only empty shells are discovered, the doctor may rule that there is no infection. In cases of actual infection, the doctor may also diagnose further screening for sexually transmitted infection and a Genito Urinary Medicine Clinic.

How is it treated?

Lice can be dealt with by the patient, under the guidance of his doctor. While traditional wet combing can be effective at removing some lice, there are now more effective methods available on the market. Insecticidal lotions are recommended by doctors. They come as either a lotion or cream available on prescription or over the counter at a pharmacy. There are two main types of these lotions. The first is called Malathion 0.5 aqueous lotion which is suitable for all. The user must apply the lotion to all areas of the body except for the eyes. If washing hands or any other area of the body, the lotion must be reapplied and stay on for at least twelve hours before removal. This process should then repeat the process one week later.

The second is called Permathrin 5% cream which is not suitable for anyone pregnant, breast feeding or under the age of eighteen. It is also applied to all of the body excluding the eyes. It should be left on for twenty four hours before removal and once again the process must be repeated one week later. The reason for this one week repeat period is to ensure that any additional lice that may have hatched are effectively removed. If the self medication process is proving unsuccessful the doctor may check your methods are correct before offering carbaryl or plenothirin as these are effective in dealing with more resistant lice. Eyes are treated using a permethirin 1% ointment which should be applied with a cotton bud to the eye lashes and keep on for five to ten minutes. Any potentially infected bedding or clothing should be dealt with by washing at 50 degrees, in order to kill any lice.

Where do I go?

Genito Urinary Medicine and sexual health clinics are recommended for dealing with public lice However, a doctor can also provide guidance and recommended prescriptions for use, while in most cases lotions and shampoos are available without prescription from pharmacists.

Related Articles