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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Pubic lice


Pubic lice (also called crabs) are tiny lice that live in pubic hair. They can cause itching and spots in your pubic hair area. You may be able to see the lice moving around.

Pubic lice are spread by close skin contact with an infected person and are treated with an insecticide cream you can get from a pharmacy or through your general practice team.

You should regularly wash your underwear and bedsheets in hot water until the treatment is successful.

Your partner will need to be treated at the same time, even if they do not have any itching.

If you're sexually active, it's a good idea to get tested for other sexually transmitted diseases at your general practice, Sexual Wellbeing Aotearoa Clinic, school clinic or Te Tahi Youth. You can also get tested at the Sexual Health Centre.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2022.


Page reference: 285552

Review key: HISYP-53679