Occurrence: Aphids (Pthirus pubis) live primarily in pubic hair, but in rare cases can also be found in other body hair such as the beard, armpits or eyelashes. Lice are most commonly found in sexually active adults, but can also be found in children and adolescents.
Food: Crabs feed on human blood. Their bites cause slight itching and often small gray-blue marks on the torso, thighs and upper arms.
CombatThe most effective way to combat crabs is with a lice repellent. You don't need to wash your bedding or do any extra cleaning because crabs are mostly only transmitted through direct contact. To avoid future crab infestations, you should limit the number of sexual partners.
Description of the crab
Head lice and body lice are almost impossible to distinguish from each other, but with its small and almost round body, the crab differs significantly from the other two species.
Crabs are also 1.3 - 2 mm long, which is a lot smaller than head lice and body lice, which are usually 2.5 - 3 mm and 2.5 - 3.5 mm long respectively.
The nymphs (which are precursors to the adult lice) are similar to adult crabs, but much smaller. The adult lice, as well as the nymphs, don't move much.
When feeding, they grab onto a hair and then insert their mouthparts into the host's skin. Crabs can not survive for more than 24 hours without blood.
Where do crabs live?
Crabs live primarily in the body hair on the human body. In practice, they are mostly found in the hair around the genitals, but in rare cases they can also migrate to other areas of the body where similar hair growth is present. This particularly includes the beard, eyelashes and armpits.
Although crabs usually live on adults, they can also be found in children. Here they usually live in the eyelashes and eyebrows and can therefore cause eye infections.
In very rare cases, crabs have also been observed in hair on the head. In these cases, it has always been in individuals with a lot of hair on their head.
Adult crabs lay eggs at the hair roots close to the skin. The eggs hatch after 7-10 days. After hatching, the larva develops into a nymph, which after 27 - 33 days becomes an adult crab.
How do you get crabs?
Crabs are usually transmitted from one host to another through sexual contact.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't get crabs from bedding, underwear, public toilet seats, chairs, sofas, etc. This is due to two things: 1) the lice don't usually fall off their hosts unless they're dead, and 2) the lice can't survive for more than 24 hours without a host. Like other lice, crabs cannot fly, swim or jump.
The main risk factor for lice is sexual contact with multiple partners. The more sexual partners you have, the higher the risk of becoming infected with lice.
Symptoms and symptoms
Crabs cause severe itching around the genitals as well as the anus. Other hairy parts of the body can also be affected. The itching usually lasts around 5 days from the moment you are infected, but it can last for up to 2 weeks.
Lice bites can cause small bluish-gray or dark marks (similar to bruises) on the upper body, thighs and upper arms. These marks can remain for months - even if you've gotten rid of all the crabs.
If crabs settle in the eyelashes, this can cause crusting at the edges of the eyelids. In some cases, the lice and their eggs can also be seen at the roots of the eyelashes.
In addition, the following can also be symptoms of crabs:
- Light fever
- Lack of energy
Because lice are mainly spread through sexual contact, there is also a risk of contracting an STD if you have crabs. As you know, STDs can also cause symptoms around the genitals, such as itching, tickling, pain and burning sensations.
Treatment for crabs
Treating crabs is all about removing them from the body, which is done with a prescription lice repellent. Lice in the eyelashes or eyebrows should be treated with a special eye ointment, which is also available at the pharmacy. Always follow the instructions on the packaging carefully.
Unfortunately, intimate shaving or other forms of hair removal don't help much against crabs.
Because crabs are spread through sexual contact, the best way to prevent them is to limit the number of sexual partners.
When you have crabs, you should also avoid all sexual contact until the treatment is complete and successful. You should also inform sexual partners about the crabs. More tips can be found here.