The first symptoms of head lice infestation include intense itching and scratching. You will also notice the presence of nits in the hair. Crab lice will also cause intense itching around the pubic area. This itching can be severe and may lead to secondary bacterial infections if left untreated. This condition typically takes two to three weeks to manifest.
It is important to treat all parts of the body affected by the infestation. You can wash and dry clothing in hot water, and use a fine-tooth comb to remove nits. However, it is important to avoid contact with the lice while the treatment is in progress. After treatment, you should wear clean clothes and sleep on freshly laundered bed linens. It is also important to inform your sex partners so that they can also get treated.
If you suspect you have head lice, the best way to get treated is to contact your doctor. You will likely be asked to have a follow-up visit with your regular doctor. If you have pubic lice, you should avoid close contact with other people until the infection is cleared. This includes sharing towels or linens.
Crabs usually live in the pubic area, but can also live on the armpits, eyelashes, beard/mustache, and other coarse hair. If you have crabs on your pubic area, your healthcare provider may use a microscope to identify them. Once you’ve identified the lice, you’ll need to apply a treatment called Permethrin. It is available over-the-counter.