Pubic Lice and Scabies

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  • What are they? Tiny insects that live in hairy parts of our bodies (pubic hair, underarm hair, hairy legs, abdomens, chests, eyelashes and occasionally in eyebrows and beards cause scabies and pubic lice (crabs).
  • Symptoms: The most common symptom is that they are incredibly itchy and you normally start itching within 6 weeks of catching them.
  • Transmission: Pubic Lice and scabies are easily passed on through all forms of close physical contact (N.B Full penetrative sex is not necessary to catch them) Scabies can also be passed on through sharing beds or linen however it is very rare for pubic lice to spread this way.

Pubic Lice.
Pubic lice are tiny parasitic insects they are yellow grey and about 2mm long you may also see droppings from the lice in your underwear (black powder) as well as eggs on pubic or other hair. Occasionally it is possible to see lice on the skin.

  • Treatment: After being diagnosed with Pubic Lice via a physical examination and discussion of your medical history (and occasionally samples of the lice examined) they are then easily treated using a special shampoo or lotion. All Clothing and bedding should also be washed to avoid infection recurring. If the itching continues, the doctor can prescribe tablets or lotions to help with this.
  • Post Treatment: Until treatment is completed, you can pass on pubic lice. The doctor is likely to advise you to avoid having sexual contact with anyone during treatment and also that your sexual partner and anyone you may have come into close physical contact with should also be checked and treated.

Scabies.
Scabies can also cause an itchy rash (this is often only noticeable or becomes worse at night). It can affect your genitals, your buttocks, your abdomen, your arms, your nipples, your elbows, your wrists and your hands (especially in between your fingers and on the side of your fingers) The itching occurs because the female mites are burying into your skin to lay their eggs.

  • Treatment: Scabies is harder to diagnose than Pubic Lice and a doctor’s diagnosis will rely on your history of scratching, a rash and perhaps a skin flake sample (to look for evidence of the mite.) Again once diagnosed they can be easily treated using a special lotion and possibly a prescription of tablets to aid with the cessation of the itching
  • Post Treatment: Again, any form of sexual contact with anyone should be avoided until the course of treatment is completed. All Clothing and bedding should also be washed to avoid infection recurring Again anyone you may have come into close physical contact with should be checked and treated if needed. It is advisable to return for a check-up following treatment. This is usually within a week of the original appointment.

Click here for a list of agencies you can contact should you require further information or help.

If there are any health workers that could help us keep our pages updated please mail us as we are very aware that new research and information is constantly being published on Pubic Lice and Scabies. Your help would be much appreciated.

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