There was a guy in my high school (actually, now that I think about it, I'm not sure he attended my school but maybe just hung around there) who gave crabs to, like, everybody.
He was this badass punk dude, and we -- I mean they -- all did the dirty with him.
Then, you know how it goes: you get itchy, shave your pubes thinking that will solve the problem, realize something's still up and sneak off to the drug store for some Kwellada. But these day folks are concerned about the chemicals in treatments for head and body lice, including permethrin (a possible carcinogen) and lindane, a way dangerous neurotoxin.
There are people who don't want to put these ingredients on their heads, so how enthusiastic are they going to be about putting the stuff on their cooters or peters, as the case may be?
If you're one of those who think only sluts get pubic lice, think again.
What the experts say
"Lice have grown such immunity to treatments over the years, they just don't die. You need a good shampoo and a good combing method. We use natural products, because it doesn't make sense to try to poison them - it doesn't work. With pubic lice you need to loosen their grip, and the best thing is Vaseline (petroleum jelly). Then you pick out the bugs. I don't think over-the-counter medicines are toxic; you're not going to abuse them. The problem is they don't work. And you don't catch pubic lice just through sexual relations. They're very contagious."
ADIE HOROWITZ, owner, Licenders, New York City
"The over-the-counter stuff is harmful. A fine-toothed comb has been found to be more effective than topical chemical-based shampoos. [For pubic lice] maybe a Brazilian wax would be in order, but if not, clean all clothes and linings with hot water and make sure to keep all areas concerned clean. And be patient. Tea tree oil may be an alternative, but it can cause contact dermatitis, stinging and burning mucous membranes."
DANIEL WATTERS, naturopath, Toronto
"It's dangerous to use a pesticide in the sensitive [pubic] area. It's like putting nitroglycerine on your tongue, because it goes directly into your bloodstream. You can get rid of lice simply by using salt water. If you bathe in the ocean, you won't have lice. Lice die at 124.5¡F in five minutes, so if you have a sauna at 160¡ they die quickly. Head and pubic lice lay eggs on you. Body lice lay them in your clothes. If you want to get the nits [lice eggs] out, don't use pesticides, because they make the glue that bonds the nit to the hair even harder. The enzyme we use is approved in the U.S., and we're working to get it into Canada. People don't have to buy my product [Lice R Gone] to get it rid of lice. I just don't want them to use poison."
STEVE TVEDTEN, pest control researcher, Marne, Michigan
"There is no scientific evidence that any natural products are effective. Traditionally, tea tree oil is used for lice removal, but there's no evidence it gets rid of them. People have claimed rosemary, peppermint and lavender work. They might make you smell nice, but that's all. I know people who have tried turmeric. There is no evidence that any of it works."
HEATHER BOON, assistant professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, U of T
"Infants, children and pregnant and breast-feeding women should not use products like Kwellada that contain lindane. The other treatments include Nix, Licenders and RNC Shampoo. As far as we're concerned, it is safe to use these treatments. The problem is with lindane-containing products. Yes, kids can get crabs if they're on an infested sheet."
LYBA SPRING, sexual health educator, Toronto Public Health