You can catch pubic lice through close body contact, such as during sex, because condoms – whilst offering effective protection from most STIs – cannot prevent infestations of lice (or ‘crabs’ as they’re otherwise known). Thankfully, the crabs we’re talking about aren’t sizeable crustaceans with nipping claws, but tiny grey-brown insects, about 2mm long, that live by sucking blood from the skin. You’ll find them living mainly in the places you’d expect, such as in the coarse hair of your pubes or around your anus, but they can also live on the abdomen and the back, in the armpits, on the head, and on eyelashes and eyebrows. If you now feel like hitting the shower and scrubbing yourself vigorously, I’m afraid it won’t wash the lice away. But if you suspect you’ve got a circus of lice in your underwear, then you should consult your GP, who may prescribe you an insecticidal lotion or cream to treat yourself with.
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