Crabs, those pubic lice that live in genital hair and adjacent areas, are parasites that require a human host to live. Although they prefer genital hair, they can be found on eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, chest and beard, thanks to their predilection for the spaces between hair follicles and humid environments.

Transmission and Prevention

The transmission of lice occurs mostly through direct genital contact, although they can also be spread through exchanging clothes or sharing a bed. Demystifying beliefs, it is not possible to contract them in public bathrooms or through pets. It is important to emphasize that the presence of crabs does not reflect a personal hygiene problem.

Symptoms to Watch for

lice symptom

Itching is a common symptom after an initial infection, and it can take up to four weeks to manifest. Watch for the appearance of green spots or blood droplets on underwear, as well as the possible presence of adult lice or their eggs in pubic hair.

Treatment and Care

To eliminate lice, it is recommended to use creams or lotions with 1% permethrin or pyrethrin with piperonyl butoxide. It is crucial to apply the treatment properly and comb the pubic hair with a nit pick to remove crabs and nits, repeating the process every week. For alternatives, 0.5% malathion lotion and oral invermectin are options, although the latter does not affect nits and requires a second dose.

Special Considerations

If lice affect your eyelashes or eyebrows, seek medical advice. Pregnant or nursing mothers should consult with their doctor before starting any treatment. Additionally, screening for other STIs is prudent, given the association between lice and other infections.

Necessary Disinfection


Be sure to disinfect clothing, towels and sheets in contact with the infection, washing them in hot water or using dry cleaning. Non-washable items should be stored in a plastic bag for three days to ensure removal of parasites.


Crabs are a treatable external parasite and their presence should not cause alarm. With proper treatment and preventive measures, it is possible to eradicate them effectively. Stay calm, follow medical recommendations and take care of your health and well-being.

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