Sexual Health 101: All About Crabs

By Eva

What is it?
Crabs or pubic lice are a skin parasite that lives on humans where there is body hair, except on the head. It lives mainly in the rough body hairs around the genitals and under the armpits, and is transmitted by intercourse or other close body contact. It can also be found in eyebrows, beard, armpits, mustaches and eyelashes. It gets nourished by sucking blood, and the bites give itching. It has a broad, almost square body shape and becomes as an adult approx. 2 mm long. The color is gray-white. The eggs are 0.7 mm long and white yellow. Getting crabs doesn’t mean that you are dirty. Anyone can get it if they have close personal contact with someone who has them. About 3 million people in the U.S. get crabs every year.

How do you get it?
The infection usually occurs at close physical contact, for example during intercourse or when children share a bed with the parents. The infection can also happen through towels, bed linen, clothes, etc. The crab will live for a day when removed from the body.

What are the symptoms?
– Itching near the genitals
– See crabs or eggs in your pubic hair
– Dark or bluish spots on the skin where the lice are living. These spots are from the bites.
– Feeling feverish, run-down or irritable.

Treatments for crabs are easy and come in gels, shampoos, liquids, and foam. Most of the treatments are sold over-the-counter, so you don’t need a prescription. If you have gotten crabs in your eyebrows or eyelashes you will need a treatment that you only get from you doctor. These are the only treatments that will kill the crabs. Home remedies like hot baths or shaving will not work.

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