“Crabs,” or pubic lice, are parasites that can infest the pubic hair of your genital area. Usually spread through sexual contact, rarely spread via bed linens, towels or clothes. And never from a public toilet seat, as they don’t live long off the body nor do they have mobility on smooth surfaces.
Pubic lice die within a day or two without their blood supply, which is you. They differ from head lice and animals neither get infested with nor spread crabs.
There are three stages in the life of a pubic crab:
- Nits are yellow or white lice eggs, which firmly attached to your pubic hair shaft and take around a week hatch.
- Nymphs are adolescent pubic lice, and are incapable of reproduction.
- Adults resemble a miniature crab, tan or grayish in color and the larger than male females lay the nits.
Treatment is use of an over the counter (OTC) lotion or shampoo containing 1% permethrin or pyrethrin. The remaining nits can be removed with a nit comb or your fingernails.
Use hot water to wash any potentially infested clothing, bedding, etc.