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.