Crab Lice or Pubic Lice

Crab lice, commonly called “crabs” because of its resemblance to a crab, are a type of human lice that live in clothing and the pubic area.

They are wingless, about 1 to 3 millimeters long. They attach themselves to hair strands, and hatch out of pods called “nits.” These nits that are too tightly attached to be brushed off must be removed by pulling the hair or a fine-toothed comb.

The crab louse can live in almost any human hair, but is found most commonly in pubic hair, although it can also be found in eyebrows, beards, mustaches, and even underarm hair. These lice feed on blood and can leave irritating spots on the skin, sometimes mistaken for pimples.

Treatment for pubic lice can be done with a 1% permethrin or pyrethrin lice shampoo, but the pubic hair must be shaved or combed with a fine-toothed comb to remove the nits.

Lice can also survive in bedding and clothing. In this case, the articles should be treated, sterilized, or avoid contact with them for two week, after which time any lice would have died.

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