Crabs are tiny little blood-sucking bugs (lice) that live in pubic hair and cause a lot of itching. Lice that live in the hair are not pubic (pubic hair is the hair on the front of your genital area or the crotch) lice they are head lice. Crabs have three stages of life: egg, nit and louse (just one--more than one are lice). The nits hatch within five to 10 days after they are laid.
How do I get crabs?
You get crabs by touching or just being close to someone who already has them. Even if you don't have sex, you can get crabs or give them to someone else. These little bugs can literally jump from one person's pubic hair to another's. You can get them by sleeping in a bed, wearing clothes or even from sitting on a toilet seat that the crabs live on.
Usually, crabs live in the pubic hair, but lice can also be in armpits, or mustaches. Little kids usually get them on the eye brows or eye lashes.
What do crabs do to my body?
- Usually you'll have a lot of itching because of the lice bites.
- Dark or bluish spots appear where you were bitten and last for several days.
Is there a cure for crabs?
Yes! You can treat crabs by putting a liquid medicine directly on your pubic hair. You can get a prescription from your doctor, and you can buy treatments in the store too. After the treatment, use a small comb to take out the lice and the eggs. Make sure you wash and dry your clothes, bedding, towels, etc. with hot water to kill crabs and their eggs.
How do I find out if I have crabs?
You can go to your healthcare provider and let him or her check you to see if you have crabs. If you don't have a healthcare provider, search for a clinic near you.
How can I reduce my risk of getting crabs?
There are many ways to reduce your risk. The best way to avoid crabs or any STI is to not have sex. But if you choose to have sex, you can reduce your risk of getting an STI. Learn how here.