Crabs (Pubic Lice) infestation is one of the communicable diseases. Pubic lice infestation is very common worldwide. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, there are approximately 3 million of new people who are infested every year. The ratio is 1 in every 90 residents in the United States.
They are mostly found on the genital area on pubic hairs; do not be confused with head lice because sometimes they are present in other body hairs such as hairs on legs, armpits and eyebrows.
What Do They Look Like?
Pubic lice look like very similar to other types of lice; head lice and body lice. They have six legs, pair of antennae, a head and abdomen. They also have the same life cycle; lice egg, nymph and adult lice.
Nits are the eggs of parasitic organisms. Therefore, lice eggs can also be called as nits. They are very small and are very hard to see with the naked eye. They need heat that is why they are attached in hair strands one centimeter away from the skin. These oval-shaped eggs are yellowish and turn to white when they are emptied. They usually hatch within a week.
Nits hatch to give birth to young lice which are also called nymphs. They look like adult pubic lice but are estimated to be five times smaller. They feed on blood for up to 2 – 3 weeks before they become mature.
Adult pubic lice have two large front legs which would look like pinchers of a crab when viewed on a strong magnifying lens (this is where they got its name). They are grayish in color which turns to dark brown/red as they feed on blood. Female louse is usually bigger than males which can lay approximately eight eggs after mating. They feed on blood approximately five times a day and die within a day or two if they fall off the ground.
Pubic Lice Transmission
Pubic lice are found on the genitals and are therefore transmitted through sexual interactions. These tiny parasites are quick-moving and transmission can occur in any minute. They may die if they are away from their host but can move very quickly to find new host. One can also get pubic lice with infested bed linens, towels, or clothing.
In contrast to the myth, one cannot get pubic lice from animals. They do not also occur on toilet seats. Their legs and feet are not designed to cling on smooth surfaces like toilet bowls.
Pubic lice are associated to other sexually transmitted diseases but do not spread them. It may not cause other serious health problems but constant scratching can cause open wounds which is very vulnerable to infections.
Pubic Lice Symptoms
A clear sign of pubic lice infestation is the presence of pubic lice and pubic lice eggs in your genital area. You can also suspect if you found lice on hairs behind legs, armpits and eyebrows.
Pubic lice secrete a substance that reacts with our skin as they suck blood which results to itching. Check for pubic lice immediately if you feel the itch. It is the primary symptoms of pubic lice. It gets worst at night during sleep. If constant scratching occurs unnoticeable during sleep, it may cause skin discoloration. It can also cause sores and bumps which can further become cuts and lesions.
Pubic Lice Treatment
Pubic lice should be treated immediately to prevent infections. You can consult your doctor or you can directly buy over-the-counter treatment products on your favorite local drugstores. These products usually contain Pyrethrin (1%), Permethrin (1%) or Lindane (1%). Here are some of the commercial names available online: Lyclear Dermal Cream, Derbac-M Liquid, Kwell, Rid, A – 200, Clear and R&C.
If you want to avoid agents and chemicals, you can also use natural remedies as treatment for crabs. There are a lot of plant extracts that will drive away pubic lice and prevent re-infestations. Essential oils of Neem, Tea Tree, Rosemary and Lavender contain natural insecticidal ingredients that act as antiseptic. Available natural pubic lice-killing products are Naughty Nits Spritzer, Naughty Nits Hair Oil and Naughty Nits Shampoo. They are manufactured by NativeRemedies. For more information, you can visit their site or you can dial 1 – 561 – 999 – 8857.
After every treatment, dead pubic lice and nits may cling on your pubic hair. Nits are also the main cause of re-infestations. It is recommended to use nit combs to rake them away. It has specialized teeth that have very small gaps in between which can trap even the tiniest nits. If you are experiencing symptoms, treat pubic lice (crabs) immediately to prevent further infestations. It may cause infections in the long run.