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Crabs are actually a common name given to lice in the pubic hair of humans. Lice are parasites, which means they cannot survive without a host. Licein the pubic area are called Pediculosis pubis and they owe their common name, crabs, to their appearance, with three pairs of legs on each side of the body.

Crabs can be spotted with naked eye, even though they are very tiny. They usually cling onto hair in the pubic area. Crabs can also migrate to other areas with coarse hair, suck as chest, beard or armpits.

Female lice produce eggs, which take six to eight days to hatch.

Symptoms of pubic lice

The most common and most distinctive symptom of pubic lice it itching, possibly with burning. The itch is located at the pubic area but may affect other moist marts of the body if the lice move on there too. The itching tends to worsen at night.

Scratching the affected area can cause damage to the skin and make it prone to infections if it breaks.

Causes of pubic lice

Pubic lice are transmitted during physical contact with another affected person. Since they do not jump or fly, pubic lice require direct contact. Therefore, they are mostly transmitted through sexual intercourse.

A person can also contract pubic lice by using personal items which are already contaminated, like towels, underwear, sheets, and similar.

Pubic lice cannot be transmitted through cars, dogs and other pets.

Diagnose and treatment

If a person suspects he or she has lice infection, they should contact the doctor. the lice themselves are not dangerous, but they can lead to complications. For example, the itching they cause can be very intense and uncomfortable, so the person may scratch the affected skin very hard. This can cause breaks and tears in the skin that can be infected with bacteria.

Signs and symptoms of infection include redness, inflammation, burning, pulsating, pus, fever, genital discharge or burning sensation while urinating.

The diagnose for pubic lice is made by a physical exam of pubic are and other hairy parts of the body. The doctor will look for grown lice as well as for eggs or nits.

Treatment usually consists of products like shampoo or solution, which are available over-the-counter. For more severe cases, there are also prescription shampoos, which are stronger. Also, in order to prevent new infestation, it is very important to wash very carefully all the clothes and personal items, especially underwear, to make sure all the lice and their eggs are gone.

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