February 23rd, 2007
The scientific name for this little insect is Phthirius pubis, and it has three common names: pubic lice, pubic louse, and crab lice. The name crabs came about by the way they use their claws to grip our genitals and hair to stay on-board. Pubic lice are parasites. They feed on our blood and will die in two days without it. The adult pubic louse averages 1.1–1.8 millimeters in length, which makes them visible to the naked eye. The best way to diagnose an infestation is by observing the little white eggs or nits attached to pubic hair, accompanied by a severely annoying crotch itch.
I have never personally caught crabs. But, from what I understand, it is more embarrassing than it is anything else. Crabs are not a serious affliction, and there are several very effective methods for getting rid of the little buggers. Crabs are almost entirely acquired through direct contact with an infected person's genital area. Less often they can be acquired through contact with clothing or linens of an infected person. Contrary to popular rumor, it is very difficult to get crabs from a toilet seat. Crabs that fall off a person are generally injured, dying, or dead. Any crabs on the toilet will be unable to grip the smooth surface, so they will fall off that, too. Sorry, you can't blame the toilet seat for this one.
Many doctors recommend that upon discovering an infestation of crabs, the first course of action should be trimming the pubic hairs. This by itself will not cure you of the infestation, but it will increase the effectiveness of the other treatments, especially for people with lots of pubic hair. It is not necessary to shave the region. Just a trim will suffice. The easiest way to trim your pubes is with an electric beard trimmer. Make sure to wash and sanitize the trimmer after using it on your crabby pubes.
The next step is to kill the lice with a shampoo or topical ointment. There are three main active ingredients in lice treatments: permethrin, lindane, and malathion. Two common permethrin shampoos are Rid and Nix. Elimite and Acticin are common permethrin creams. The cream Kwell uses lindane as an active ingredient. Lindane products should not be used by pregnant women or children under the age of two. Malathion lotion is available by prescription only and works very well. Follow the recommended dosage for each product in order for it to be most effective.
A major setback in treating pubic lice is scratching the itch. Scratching can spread the infestation and slow up heal time. Itching may persist even after the lice are gone because of the damage they caused when they ate your blood and spit on you. Using an antihistamine like Benadryl while you are treating them and a lotion like calamine after they are gone will help you deal with the itch.
While you treat the pubic lice with ointments, creams, or shampoos, you will need to sift through your pubes with a nit comb to get rid of any eggs and lice carcasses. The treatments may not kill all the eggs, so you will want to purchase a nit comb to get them out. It is a super fine comb with spaces too small for the eggs to get through. The incubation time of the eggs is two weeks, so try to get them all with the comb.
In order to prevent reinfection, wash clothes, bedding, and all fabrics that have come in contact with the infected person in the last two days. Machine wash with hot water and dry in a hot dryer everything you can. Dry clean all dry clean only items. Any recent sexual partners need to seek treatment as well. Most importantly do not get your freak on until the crabs are gone, which should be about two weeks. Make sure they are gone by combing your bush with a nit comb.
How to Kill Crabs
Apart from being annoying and cutting into your nighttime activities, an infestation of crabs is nothing to be scared of. Plus, no one has to know that you got crabs, unless you gave it to someone else, and then you should be the better person and let them know, so they can get treatment for it. You don't even have to go to the doctor. Most of the treatments are available over the counter. Just read the warnings and directions for each product and follow the guidelines. For example, most of the creams should not be rubbed on areas like the tip of a penis or the outside of a vagina. I guess it burns like a son of a monkey. Anyway, if for some reason the crabs get worse or you have an adverse reaction to the treatment, check with a doctor. You may have misdiagnosed yourself, or you may have an allergy to the medication. Crabs is one of the sexually transmitted diseases that can not be prevented by contraceptives. I would still encourage you to practice safe sex. But safe sex is about more than just contraception. It's also being smart about the people we let into our beds. If nothing else, an infestation of crabs may help us to become better judges of character.