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What You Need to Know About Pubic Lice

College Students Beware

Unfortunately for college students, pubic lice are the head lice of young adulthood. The freedom and romantic opportunities of college often come with STD’s spreading rampantly. Crabs, Pediculosis pubis, or pubic lice are spread typically through close personal contact, such as sexual activity. Although it is possible to get pubic lice from infested sheets, towels, or clothing, these lice aren’t able to live long when not attached to the body.

Diagnosing and Treating Pubic Lice

Human hair, from the hair on our heads, bodies, and genitals, are actually all quite different from each other. This unfortunately means that three different types of lice infect our bodies. Crabs are a completely different species than the head lice that infest our hair. However, these lice all have something in common: they make us itchy and uncomfortable. Symptoms of crabs typically include pubic itching and visible pubic lice or nits.STD Health

Topical pesticides, such as Permethrin, are the typically treatment for pubic lice. If you discover that you have pubic lice, you should make any sexual partners you had within a month of the symptoms aware of the possibility that they have them too. While you are treating your pubic lice, you should also avoid sexual activity until you are completely symptom free, in order to prevent your partners from becoming infested.

To determine whether you might have pubic lice, you should carefully examine your pubic area for lice and nits. If you are still not sure, or if you have difficulty treating the infestation, it might be a good idea to visit your doctor for a formal diagnosis.

Protect Your Sexual Heath, Get Tested

Protecting your sexual health is extremely important. Getting tested regularly for STD’s is one of the best ways you can educate yourself about your own sexual health. Visit your nearest ARCpointLabs for STD testing if you are concerned about your sexual health. Don’t wait, get tested today.

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Crabs Aren’t Cute When it Comes to STDs

It’s time for another lesson on STD slang. Last time we talked about slang words for STDs we uncovered that “The Clap” refers to gonorrhea. Our next STD slang: Crabs.


There's nothing cute about crabs AKA pubic lice.

What are “Crabs?”

Crabs – and we’re not talking about those little red things that crawl in the sand with pinchers – are actually public lice. We previously described public lice and the symptoms. Here’s a quick review:

  • Public lice work like ticks – they attach themselves to skin and feed on blood.
  • Crabs can be passed by having contact with any person OR MATERIAL (sharing clothes, towels & bedding)
  • Crabs can only survive through the warmth of a human host (so you can’t get them from a pool.)
  • They are visible – they start out gray and turn red, they may drop eggs near public hair follicles and bite.
  • They ITCH (especially at night.)
  • They are easily treated with cremes (both prescription and non-prescription.)
  • Chances are, if you’ve had crabs – you might have another STD (or two.)

Why are Public Lice called Crabs?

This nickname for a common STD is much easier to understand than “the clap.” Pubic lice, when viewed microscopically, look like little crabs. Plus, they feed off the host and turn red as they fill with blood.

How to Avoid Crabs?

Obviously, the best way to avoid crabs is to avoid any sexual contact with someone else who has crabs. Condom use won’t prevent you from getting crabs from another infected person since the condom does not cover the pubic hair follicles from touching. Make sure to take caution when sharing clothing, towels or bedding with another individual – especially if they have crabs. Washing in hot water can help rid any lingering lice that may be hiding out in the fibers.

If you do come down with crabs, see a physician to help recommend remedy. Pubic lice may be treated similarly to any other case of lice – it’s important to comb out any obvious parasites and eggs, faithfully apply cremes, and avoid contact with other individuals until the lice are gone.

Don’t Forget:  If you have Crabs it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED you get STD tested.

Find a STD testing site near you.


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Know Your STDs and How to Prevent Them: Pubic Lice

Pubic lice, commonly called “crabs,” are one of the most easily spread sexually transmitted diseases out there. And because of the strong correlation between an infestation of pubic lice and infection with other sexually transmitted diseases, it’s important to know what pubic lice are and what to do about them — and how TEST SMARTLY LABS can help you take control of your sexual health.

What are pubic lice?

Pubic lice are small, tick-like parasites that feed on blood by burrowing into a person’s skin.

How can I get it?

Pubic lice are passed through contact with any person or material who has them, whether via sex or sharing of clothes, towels or bedding.  Pubic lice are not spread by toilet seats or swimming pools because they cannot survive for long periods of time away from the warmth and humidity of a human host.

How will I know if I have them?

Symptoms of pubic lice infestation usually appear after approximately five days, though some people never get symptoms.  They include itchy and/or inflamed skin, visible lice (pale gray at first, but darker as they fill with blood) and eggs (white and usually found in small clumps near hair follicles), and spots of blood (caused by lice feeding in the skin).

What are the complications?

There are few complications, but some people develop discolored skin in spots where pubic lice have been feeding continually.  Additionally, people can develop secondary infections from scratching lice bites.

Is it treatable?

A pubic lice infestation is easily treated using over-the-counter cream rinses.  Stronger prescription medicines are available for particularly stubborn infestations.

How can I prevent it?

There is no fail-proof protection against pubic lice.  You can lessen your chances by limiting the number of people with whom you come into sexual contact, as well as not sharing clothes, towels or bedding.

How can I get tested?

A person can usually self-diagnose pubic lice, or a medical health professional can confirm.  However, there is a high association between the presence of pubic lice and contraction of other sexually transmitted diseases.  So, if you have or have had a pubic lice infestation, it is highly recommended that you be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases.  TEST SMARTLY LABS offers twenty testing locations across the United States, and we offer secure specimen control, accurate and reliable results, and complete confidentiality at low prices without the hassle or cost of a doctor’s visit.  Use the drop-down menu at the top of this page under Prevention Sites or visit our website to find a location near you.

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