Crabs & Scabies

Home » Crabs & Scabies


Crabs & Scabies are transferred by skin-to-skin contact and can occur anywhere on the body. This means that while they can be passed through sexual contact, it is usually passed through non-sexual skin-to-skin contact.

Symptom Overview

Crabs & scabies are parasites that can be encountered during close contact with others including sexual contact. Crabs are pubic lice, found attached to hair in the pubic area but sometimes on coarse hair elsewhere on the body. Scabies are microscopic mites that burrow under the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs.
A person may not have symptoms.

Symptoms vary between crabs and scabies. Crabs (pubic lice) can show symptoms within 5 days, whereas scabies can take up to 2 months (2-6 weeks). When symptoms do appear, they may include:


  • Intense itching in the genitals or anus
  • Presence of lice or small egg sacs, which are called nits, in pubic hair


  • Itching and a skin rash
  • Sever itching at night
  • Tiny burrows on the skin


Pubic lice and scabies are found in all races and ethnic groups and all levels of society. Anyone who is sexually active can get these infections.


Pubic lice and scabies are spread through skin-to-skin contact and are very easily spread during sex. Very rarely, they are spread from contact with infected bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture, and toilet seats.


Women and men can often diagnose themselves, but a health care provider can also help. Clinics, health departments, and private health care providers can diagnose pubic lice and help you get any treatment you may need.

Medicine is available without a prescription from many drugstores. If further treatment is necessary, your health care provider can give you a prescription for a stronger medicine.


Some common brands of over-the-counter pubic lice medicine are A-200, RID, and Nix. Follow the directions on the package insert of the medication. You may need to apply the medicine from head-to-toe more than once.

Scabies require prescription lotions and screams by your health care provider about them.

Everyone who may have been exposed to pubic lice and/or scabies should be treated at the same time. That way they can avoid becoming infected again.

All bedding, towels, and clothing that may have been exposed should be thoroughly washed in hot water and drying in a hot dryer or dry cleaned. The home should be vacuumed.

Living with It

Crab lice and scabies are curable with proper treatment. Re-infection is common if bed sheets and night clothes are not properly washed.


Comments are closed.