How to Prevent Pubic Lice

The most common parasites that infect humans are lice. The pubic lice (Phthirus pubis) infest areas of the body where hair grows, especially the groin, and are most common in adolescents and young adults. An estimated 3 million people with new cases of the infestation are treated each year in the United States. The most common areas affected are the abdomen, anus and groin.

What are public lice?

Pubic lice are tiny insects that can crawl from the pubic hair of one person to the pubic hair of another person during sexual intercourse. People can also catch pubic lice from infested clothing, towels, and bedding. Once they are on a person’s body, the insects live by sucking blood from their host. Pubic lice are sometimes called "crabs" because when seen under a microscope they look like tiny crabs.

How to prevent having public lice?

First, bear in mind that the use of condoms doesn’t prevent infection since lice live through in the pubic hair and skin. Infected hair and skin comes into contact with other pubic hair and skin. Pubic lice are also cause by having contact with infected individuals. The risk of having pubic lice is higher to those who have multiple intimate sexual contacts.

It’s better to know your partner’s sexual history before engaging into the act but in case you failed to do so, start dry cleaning or washing materials that may carry pubic lice in 125 degrees Fahrenheit water.
Remember that pubic lice can survive 1-2 weeks in bedding or clothing so it’s important to clean everything that may be infested. Good personal hygiene is also recommended. If possible, avoid trying on bathing suits. However, if you must, be sure to wear your underwear while trying them on. This may prevent transmission.   

Remember that it’s important to get treated to prevent the pubic lice from spreading and ensure that the lice have been totally eliminated.

For follow-up procedures, abstain from sexual contact for 48 hours after treatment and schedule a follow-up examination after one week to determine that all pubic lice are eradicated.


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