Crabs or public lice are lice that infest the hair in the pubic area. It is commonly transmitted from one infected person to another through sexual contact. In some rare cases, pubic lice can be transmitted by coming in contact with infested garments, towels and bedding. An infestation of pubic lice is easily identifiable through its many noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms of Crab/Pubic Lice

The most common symptom of pubic lice is severe itchiness which is worst around night time. Pubic lice are most active at night. They burrow their way through pubic hair follicles to feast on blood. Depending on the severity of infestation, itchiness may be noticeable right away. This happens when there are a lot of adult lice. On the other hand, a person may be already infected but won't be feeling the itch until 7 days or so later. This occurs when just a few adult lice that lay eggs were transmitted. It may take weeks before the eggs hatch and the symptom to manifest itself.

Other noticeable symptoms are lice bites. The area can be inflamed due to the skin reaction to bites and defecation. It can be worsened by scratching, resulting to redness, sores and lesions. This can further lead to bacterial infection.

Noticing Crab/Pubic Lice

Crabs or pubic lice are clearly visible by the naked eye. They can be found in the hair or skin in the pubic area. They may be transferred to the clothing, towels or bedding of an infected person. They appear in several forms depending on what stage they are in their life cycle. Nits are lice eggs. They are oval in appearance and are usually found attached to hair shafts. Nymphs are baby lice and are similar in appearance to adult lice, only smaller. Adult lice are bigger in size and are more visible than the nits or nymphs. They look like crabs when placed under a microscope. Presence of any of these forms of pubic lice is a symptom of an infestation.

When diagnosed, it is best to treat crab/pubic lice as soon as possible to avoid infestation and other secondary infections.