Phthirus pubis, commonly known as pubic lice or crabs, is a parasitic insect that infests the pubic hair region of humans. These tiny insects are typically found in the genital area, but can also infest other areas with coarse hair, such as the armpits, eyebrows, and even eyelashes.
Pubic lice are usually transmitted through sexual contact, but can also spread through close personal contact or sharing contaminated items like clothing, towels, or bedding. They attach their eggs, known as nits, to the hair shafts close to the skin surface, where they hatch and mature into adult lice.
The symptoms of a pubic lice infestation include intense itching in the affected area, visible lice or nits attached to the hair, and small red or blue spots on the skin caused by lice bites. Scratching the infested area can lead to secondary bacterial infections.
Treatment for pubic lice typically involves using over-the-counter or prescription medicated creams, lotions, or shampoos that kill the lice and their eggs. It is also important to wash or dry-clean infested clothing, bedding, and towels to prevent re-infestation.
Prevention of pubic lice includes practicing safe sexual behaviors, avoiding sharing personal items, and maintaining good personal hygiene. Regularly checking for any signs of infestation is also recommended, especially if one has been in close contact with an infected individual.