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Crabs (Pubic Lice) Print E-mail

Dr. Kennedy Crabs, aka pubic lice, are parasitic insects found in the genital area of humans. Pubic lice are usually spread through sexual contact. Rarely, infestation can be spread through contact with an infested person's bed linens, towels, or clothes. Although it's possible to be infested with no symptoms, people with pubic lice usually experience itchiness. This is worst at night when the lice become active and bury their heads inside pubic hair follicles to feed on a person's blood.

A common misbelief is that infestation can be spread by sitting on a toilet seat. This is not likely, since lice cannot live long away from a warm human body. Also, lice do not have feet designed to walk or hold onto smooth surfaces such as toilet seats. Infection in a young child or teenager may indicate sexual activity or sexual abuse.

In young children, pubic lice may also be a cause of blepharitis (irritation or infection of the eyelids). if lice are suspected the child's eyelashes should be examined with a high-powered magnifying glass.

Pubic lice can live only one or two days away from a human body. They are rarely transmitted from furniture or toilet seats because the lice that fall from the body are usually injured or dying. Unlike fleas, lice can't jump from person to person. And they can't be contracted from animals.

Because the lice can sometimes be contracted from bedding and towels used by someone who is infected, it is important to avoid contact with any item, including clothing, that the person has used. Usually pubic lice infestation is spread through sexual contact, so the best way to prevent it is to abstain from having sex. Sexual contact with more than one partner or with someone who has more than one partner increases the risk of contracting any sexually transmitted disease, including this one.



The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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