Pubic Lice (Crabs) and Scabies

What is it?

Pubic lice (also known as crabs) and scabies are considered to be STIs but can also be passed between people who share clothes and towels or sleep in the same bed. These parasites are tiny insects, similar to the fleas our beloved feline and canine friends sometimes get. These insects bite and can dig under the skin and lay eggs, and cause itching.

What should I be looking for?

Pubic Lice:

  • Itching around your pubic area
  • Light brown insects the size of a pinhead (use a magnifying glass — if they move, it’s probably crabs)
  • Oval whitish eggs on the hair (easier to see than the insects themselves)

Scabies:

  • Itching, mainly at night
  • A rash between your fingers, on your wrists, stomach, ankles, or around your genitals

Can I get rid of it?

Scabies and pubic lice may be treated easily with special creams, lotions, or shampoos (e.g. Hexit, Nix). These are available over the counter at drugstores – just ask the pharmacist. If you don’t get treated, you may get a skin infection. If you’re concerned, see your health care provider. Be sure to tell anyone you have been in close contact with, even if you have not had sexual contact with them. You might have left some bugs in the bed sheets.

Even if you have killed the pests that were living on/in you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t catch them again. You must wash your clothes, bed sheets, etc. in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer.