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Pubic Lice

(Pew-bik Lice)

Pubic lice, also know as crabs, is a parasite. Pubic lice are passed through skin on skin contact with a person that has pubic lice. It is possible to get pubic lice by sharing bedding, towels and clothing with an infected person. Pubic lice are different from head lice. They are a different species within the same family and are not to be confused each other as they are different infestations. Pubic lice grasp onto the hair in the pubic area and suck the blood under the skin at the base of the hair shaft.

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If you would like to get more information on testing, click here.

What Are The Symptoms Of Public Lice?

Pubic lice can be seen attached to the hair in the pubic area. As they feed on the blood under the skin, they leave behind saliva, digestive juices and feces. These substances can cause, severe itching, red rash or irritation in the infected area from itching and bacterial infections of the skin if the infected area is scratched.

Eggs, also called nits, left on the pubic hair will hatch and grow into adults in 2-3 weeks.

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How Do I Know If I Am Infected?

Diagnosis of pubic lice is made by direct examination of the involved area and finding the nits or active lice. If you would like to get tested for pubic lice you can call our clinic to make an appointment.

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Can Pubic Lice Be Cured?

Pubic lice are treated with a medicated shampoo. Partners should also be treated to avoid re-infection. All linens, clothing and towels used by infected people within the last three days must be thoroughly washed in hot soapy water or be dry-cleaned as the parasites can live on those surfaces and away from their host for three days.

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How Can I Prevent Getting Pubic Lice?

Because pubic lice are often spread through sexual contact, the best way to avoid getting it is to not have sex. If you choose to be sexually active then being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected can reduce your risk. To further reduce risk, it is recommended to not share any clothing, linens or towels.

Condoms are not effective at reducing the risk of this infection because it can be spread through skin on skin contact.

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Click Here to see an image of Pubic Lice. Warning: graphic image!
Parasite: a small organism that lives on or in the body of another organism of a different species called “the Host.” Parasites get their nutrition by feeding off of the body of the host. Lice and scabies are examples of parasites.
Nits: the eggs of a parasitic organism often found attached to hair shafts.
Medicated Shampoo: a shampoo containing chemicals that kill parasites.
Mutually Monogamous: two people who are in an exclusive relationship with each other. Neither one of them has sexual contact with another person outside of their relationship.