Compared with the two major venereal diseases, this is very mild and may be cured with comparative ease. It is, however, extremely annoying and may continue for a long time if not treated.
The lice, which may be picked up by sexual contact, but also Â£ om toilet seats, etc., settle on the hair just above the genitals, where they lay their eggs. These increase in numbers, laying their eggs everywhere in the hair follicles. The eggs may be seen by pulling out a hair and placing it on a sheet of paper. They soon set up an irritation of the skin, and the patient begins to scratch himself. The skin itches and smarts. If allowed to multiply, the lice may spread out and reach the hair in the arm-pits. Thence, they may be carried by the fingers to the eye-lashes.
The treatment is relatively simple. A 5-percent calomel ointment is thoroughly rubbed onto the hair and the skin over the pubic bone. This should be done before retiring and allowed to remain on all night. In the morning, the parts should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. The lice are now dead, but their eggs are not; and these will hatch in the next few days. One week after the first application, therefore, a second treatment should be given. This will usually be sufficient, though a third may be given one week later, if desired. Various remedies are on the market, but none of them is as effective as calomel salve. If there is the least suspicion that such lice are present, the treatment should be undertaken at once.