Courtney details the signs, symptoms, and treatment of Pubic Lice, otherwise known as “crabs”. For more information on pubic lice, visit the CDC’s website here: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/pubic/index.html.
Hey, everyone. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to Wellbeing Wednesdays. I'm your host Courtney Weaver. I'm also the director here at Well WVU at West Virginia University. I'm by my lonesome today, which means that once again, I'm going to be rambling about a different STI. And this week we are going to talk a little bit about pubic lice, otherwise known as.
So why do you think its nickname is crabs? Well it's because they look like little crabs, but just in the way that they're shaped in their little pincers. Now if you look, the life is different than headlights pubic lice won't actually live in your hair, but it will live in other places beyond your pubic hair, which we'll go into a little bit later.
Some of the basics. People, glycine is a parasitic infection. That's a, one of the three classifications of STI is it is curable. So that's good. And it's contracted generally through sexual contact. So people realize kind of like jump from host to host. Occasionally, occasionally it repeat that occasionally people glass can be spread by close personal contact or contact with things like.
Clothing bed limit bled bed, linens and towels that have been used by infested person. So quick guidelines don't share linens with folks who have this infection. And then another common misconception is that you can catch people close from a toilet seat, and that's not true. A lice can't live long away from a warm human body and they also don't have feet that are designed to hold on to or walk on smooth surfaces, such as a toilets.
So before we dive into the nitty-gritty, if people realized, I just want to give a shout out to the center for disease control, where I got a lot of this information, I will link to the page in the description of this week's podcast. So let's talk symptoms. So the main symptom is itching and that cause that's similar to other lice infestations, and the itching is going to usually occur in the pubic ingrain area.
So the lights themselves often attach to more than one hair and generally do not crawl as quickly as head and. And even if crawling lice, aren't seen, if you find nits in the pubic area, that strongly suggests that a person does have a, an infestation and should be treated. And so what are knits? Those are actually just the visible lice eggs.
And basically if you see these nets or lice crawling or attached to pubic hair, that's another one of those. That you got to watch out for now, less commonly pubic lice. Infestations can also occur in other hairy areas of the body. So that includes your eyelashes, your eyebrows beard, mustache, armpits, chest, and back.
So remember I said that they wouldn't live in your head hair, but they will live in those other areas if they are exposed. An important note, if a child has a pubic lice infestation in their eyebrows, or there. That can actually indicate sexual abuse. If that is the case, just make sure that appropriate measures are taken to help protect the child.
So if a person does have an infestation of pubic lice the CDC actually recommends that they be evaluated for other sexually transmitted infections. And this is because. Pubic lice. They don't feed on hair. They feed on blood. And that means that they break the skin on the person who has the infection.
And whenever there's broken skin, that also means that other infections are more easily transmittable. So that's why they're saying, Hey, you should get tested for other STDs as well. And in addition to that, Because of the scratching of the skin, some folks can develop a secondary bacterial infection.
So unlike other is where you have to like get a swab or to get a sample of blood, to get an official diagnosis. Really, this is diagnosed by finding a louse or an a on the hair in the pubic region or in other of the, or in the other hairy areas that we mentioned a little bit earlier. And actually, so although pubic lice and nits can be large enough to be seen with the naked eye magnified.
Maybe necessary to find lice or eggs. So really keep an eye out for that main symptom of itching. Don't necessarily depend on being able to see those things with the naked. Now for treatment. So what you gotta do is just use a lice killing lotion that can be used to treat it. It's available over the counter without a prescription at any local drug store or pharmacy, and those are safe and effective.
So those are the same. She imposed that you would use if you had headlights. So like hybrid is one of those brands now for prescriptions. There is lighting shampoo that can be prescribed by a healthcare provider and that can kill license, lice, eggs, but that's actually not recommended as the first route that you should go in terms of treatment because it can be toxic to the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
So it's used really should be restricted to patients. Who have failed treatment with, or cannot tolerate other medications that pose less risk. So basically if the over-the-counter stuff didn't work, this could be a backup option, but even then they might go another route. So there's a second prescription medication and I'm probably going to butcher the pronunciation of this, but it's Mela thiamine lotion.
So another prescription that can kill lice in some lice eggs, but it's actually not approved by the FDA for the treatment of people. So chances are, you will not get that prescribed. Now once you do have the shampoo, make sure that you're following instructions on the shampoo to ensure you eradicate the lice.
You may have to repeat these things too, because it's not just you using the shampoo and your pubic regions to get rid of it. You might have to comb out the lice. You'll have to, you know, wash all the linens in your home on high heat, all that kind of stuff. So make sure you're following all those instructions and the instructions of your health.
Now four licenses that are found on eyebrows and eyelashes now, because it's near your eyes, you got to take some special precautions because you can't just use any kind of treatment there. Now if there's only a few nits and lice and maybe possible to remove. All that's there with your fingernails or with a knit comb.
But if you need additional treatment, you'll have to get a prescription from a healthcare provider for something called grade patrol, Adam ointment and follow the instructions. I'm pretty sure I did not pronounce that correctly. So patrol autumn, which is kind of like a petroleum product now, you don't want to use other petroleum.
Like Vaseline, cause those can actually irritate the eyes if applied. So you need to make sure that what you've got is safe for the eyes. And again, you have to get that part by prescription. So if someone is diagnosed with this just make sure that you're noting any kind of obvious symptoms and refrain from sexual contact because con sexual contact between someone who has the infection and their sexual partners should be avoided until everyone has been able to have been examined treated, and then also reevaluate.
To make sure that the infection has gone. You're going to want to machine wash and dry your clothing that you've worn. And then also bedding used by the person who is infected in hot water. So that's at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. There's a special cycle on the laundry machine for their washing machine for that.
And then you also want to use a high heat drying cycle clothing and. That are not washable can be dry, cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two weeks. Make sure that you're not sharing any clothing bedding or towels used by an infected person. Remember the transmission that way does happen occasionally.
So it's always better to play it safe. And then do not use any kind of fumigant spray or fog. They're not necessary to control pubic lice and they can be toxic if they're inhaled or absorbed through the skin. So you might also be wondering, you know, like how common or pubic lies and infection rates kind of ebb and flow based on like societal and personal grooming preferences here in the United States.
So the more folks that shave or wax or pubic hair, the less infections that seem to occur, but it's not going extinct. There's an article that came out, I don't know, five or six years ago that says pubic lice is. Going extinct because of the popularity of bikini waxes. But it's actually not, they've been around for about 3 million years.
So they're not going anywhere anytime soon. So in terms of actually prevention for pubic lice One of the obvious things is to refrain from having sex with someone who is showing those obvious symptoms and that's mainly going to be itching. And then as you're listening to me talk at you, you might think that shaving your pubic hair is a good way to prevent it.
And that's not necessarily untrue, but do keep in mind that humans have pubic hair for a reason. It actually. As a natural barrier that can help prevent other STDs that are transmitted from skin to skin contact. So that would include things like syphilis and HPV. But you know, at the end of the day, your personal grooming habits are totally up to you.
So if you want to go ahead, but if you don't that's okay, too. But I think one of the things that. It's good about pubic lice is that this infection is easier to spot than other STS because of the obvious itching it will. Cause it's not going to be like chlamydia, which is, you know, the nickname is the silent infection.
And usually there are no symptoms for it. There is always going to be a symptom for pubic lice, and that would be. All right. Well, this is a little bit shorter than normal episode, but that's okay. Because again, I'm by myself, but I appreciate all of you tuning in for another episode and we will catch you next time on Wellbeing Wednesdays.