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Crabs & Scabies

The most common, and easily recurring, of the STIs are pubic lice and scabies. These are tiny insects that live on your skin; pubic lice are often called crabs, and they can be spread through casual contact. While it is most often that someone catches crabs or scabies from sexual activities, it is not always the case. Scratching often sheds off crabs, and they can live up to 24 hours in bed linen, carpets, furniture, and other fabrics.

Sure signs that you might have them are:

  • itching of the wrists ankles elbows or pubic area.
  • a rash on your abdomen between your fingers or elsewhere.
  • white, ovalish eggs on your pubic hair or armpits.

Scabies are difficult to see, but crabs are light brown insects about the size of the head of a pin. They are found at the base of your pubic hair. Sharing linens or clothing, can spread these STIs, and when they are identified they can be easily treated.

Treatment consists of special creams/lotions/shampoos available through your pharmacist, and washing linens and clothes in hot water, a hot dryer, or pressing with a hot iron. Because it takes about 2 weeks for eggs to become mature, this may have to be repeated to prevent reinfection. If you have signs or symptoms contact your health care provider for a diagnosis.


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