All You Want to Know About Crabs aka Public Lice

June 28, 2018

Pubic lice, or Pthirus pubis — commonly known as crabs — derive their title from the crab-shaped insects that sometimes take up residence in pubic hair. Typically spread through sexual contact, in which case they’re an STD, crabs like the hot, moist areas of our bodies and can also be found in the axilla (armpit), in the facial skin and sometimes even in the eyelashes.

The adult lice lay their eggs on the hair shafts near the epidermis and take 7 to 10 days to hatch. They feed on human blood.

How Can You Obtain Pubic Lice?

You get crabs by being in direct physical contact with a person who already has them. They can sometimes be transmitted by contact with, for instance, the towels, bed sheets, or clothing of an infested person. The lice can only survive for between 24 and 48 hours from the body. 

Signs and Symptoms of Pubic Lice (Crabs)

Itching from the pubic region is the most frequent symptom. Nits are pubic lice eggs. They are hard to see but are found firmly attached to the hair shaft.

After the eggs hatch, a baby louse called a nymph emerges. They are smaller versions of the adults they become after seven days.

Adult crabs are observable to the naked eye, but because of their grey, white or brownish color, they’re difficult to see as they can easily blend in with their surroundings.

You may see subdued blue spots in which they have bitten you. Under a magnifying glass, you can see that the pubic lice have six legs, plus both front legs are extremely large and look like the pincher claws of a crab.

The Centers for Disease Control advise that pubic lice infestation at a child or adolescent”can indicate sexual activity or sexual abuse”

Treatment of Pubic Lice (Crabs)

There are quite a few drugs available from your pharmacy without a prescription. Permethrin 1% crème rinse, one of the most common, will kill the lice. One application is all it takes. Read the directions carefully and make sure you follow them. 

The usual process would be to wash your pubic hair, dry the area, then apply the crème wash and leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with water and dry with a clean towel. Because the dead lice may still be connected to the hair follicles, it’s a fantastic idea to comb the region using a fine-toothed comb, however, you may also remove them along with your nails.  Lice from the eyebrows and eyelashes should be picked out with your palms or using all the fine-toothed comb. Don’t use the chemical anywhere near your eyes or your mouth.

A prescription medication named Lindane (1%) is also available to treat pubic lice. Lindane isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing women, or for children over 2 years old.

Prevention of Crabs 

Here are some ways to prevent fishes:

  • Step 1: Wash or dry-clean all your sheets, towels, and clothing so you don’t re-infest others or yourself. Any other parts of clothing could be put in a plastic bag for 30 days, during which time each of the lice will die.
  • Step 2: Inform your sexual partner. You don’t want to hazard re-infestation, and your partner needs to get therapy. Intimate contact should be avoided until treatment has been completed.
  • Step 3: Clean your toilet and shower with bathroom cleaner or bleach.
  • Step 4: If the treatment isn’t successful and the lice are found again, repeat the treatment after 7 to 10 days. If they persist, seek medical advice.