What is crabs?
With crabs you usually have an itch in your genital area caused by tiny spiderlike pubic lice. The lice lay eggs in the pubic hair, causing more lice to keep hatching. Crabs is contagious and can be transmitted through sexual contact, but also through sharing for example clothes or bed linen. It's important to thoroughly treat the crabs, to keep it from coming back.
What are symptoms of crabs?
- Persistent itching
- Flat, grey, spider-like bugs between the pubic hair (usually around the genital area and the anus, never on the head)
- The lice can't jump and are about 1 to 3 mm in size
- Small red and brown stains in the underwear (stool from the bugs)
- Greyish blue or red spots on the skin, where the lice have bitten
- Oval white lice-eggs attached at the base of hairs
- The eggs don't detach easily
- Scratching can cause small skin infections
Is crabs serious and should I see a doctor?
You don't need to see a doctor when you have crabs, it's not dangerous and it can be treated with over the counter products.
What can I do about crabs myself?
- Crabs can be treated with special shampoo or lotion
- The anti-crabs products are available at drugstores and pharmacies
- Instead, you could also shave all your pubic hair
- Wash all your clothes, towels and bed linen in water at least 60 C or 140 F
- When the lice are in your eyelashes or eyebrows, rub them with vaseline for 10 days and remove the eggs and lice with tweezers
- Condoms don't protect from spreading crabs
- Treat your partner too, even when he/she isn't experiencing any symptoms
- This prevents you to catch crabs from your partner after you've been cured
How does crabs infect my body?
Pubic lice live off of human blood and their bite usually causes itching. The bite isn't dangerous and doesn't cause any permanent damage. Scratching can cause wounds and small scars.
It's important when using the anti-crabs products that not only all the lice are removed, but also the eggs are removed. If the eggs aren't removed, they can hatch new crabs and the symptoms will come back.