Be Safe.

Pubic Lice or Crabs


Also Known as:


Lice for m’pubes




Swinging from pube to pube, they’re the Tarzan of your genital jungle. Pubic lice are small, crab-like insects that are grey or brown-red. They live in pubic hair, but can be on other body parts with hair (e.g., chest, armpit, face, eyelashes). They don’t have wings, so they can’t jump or fly..

How do I get it?

  • From skin-to-skin contact with an infected person
  • By sharing clothes, towels, bedding with an infected individual

How do I avoid it?

Open and honest communication is a good start. If your partner has crabs, don’t have sex until treatment has occurred.


  • It is possible to see pubic lice or their tiny white eggs (nits) with the naked eye.
  • Itching in the pubic area and around the genitals and anus. Itching is usually worse at night.
  • Redness and soreness in the pubic area
  • Scratching can lead to skin infections and spread lice to other body hair.
  • Bite marks can look like small blue spots on the skin.
  • You may see fine black specks in your underwear.
  • Armpits, eyelashes, and other areas with body hair may be affected.

Is it curable?


Trusted medications for crabs include Permethrin 1% cream, shampoo containing pyrethrin-piperonyl butoxide shampoo.

How is it treated?

Crabs won’t vacate the pube premises without treatment. Follow these simple steps and do all steps on the same day.

  1. Treat your pube dwellers with a special cream or lotion. That stuff should totally annihilate those crabbies. You can buy it at a drugstore without a prescription. So, just follow the package directions. Put the lotion on the whole body from the neck down. Put clean clothes on after treatment. Talk to your pharmacist, doctor, or nurse if you have questions or if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or treating a child under 2.
  2. You must treat all clothes, towels, and bedding used during treatment and any unwashed items used 2 to 3 days before treatment. To do this, wash all items in hot water (50 °C) and put them in a dryer for at least 20 minutes on the hottest setting. If any items can’t be washed, have them dry cleaned or loosely pack them in a sealed plastic bag. Put the bag in the freezer for 2 to 7 days. Crabs hate being freeze dried.
  3. Vacuum mattresses, pillows, rugs, beds, and furniture.

Once your treatment is done, you can’t spread crabs. The itching and rash might not go away for days or weeks. If the itching doesn’t get better or it gets worse at least 2 weeks after treatment, talk to your nurse or doctor. You may need to repeat the treatment.


Talk to your doctor or nurse before using the shampoo or cream if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or using the shampoo or lotion on a child under 2 years of age.

When’s it safe to have sex again?

Once treatment and home cleaning are complete, and no symptoms persist, you can get back on that horse.

Your partner(s) also needs to be treated, even if symptoms aren’t apparent. You can get re-infected if you have skin-to-skin with a partner before he or she is treated.

Other resources

What to expect when
getting tested

Get comfortable with the process.

  • What to bring
    to your
  • What will
    you be
  • What the

What to bring
to your

Your name and contact details and questions about your sexual history.

  • A form of ID (driver's license, passport)
  • Your health care card

What will
you be

Questions about your recent sexual history.

When you last had sex, whether it was unprotected, what kind of symptoms you have...

What the

A few different potential tests involve procedures that aren’t a huge deal.

Pelvic exams, swab tests, blood tests and or urine tests

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