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What are Crabs?

What are Crabs?

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"Crabs"-- advisory by Marcus Heng, Guardian Pharmacist

What are "crabs"?
Pubic lice, also known as crab lice, normally infect genital areas, but may also spread to other hair-bearing parts of the body. They require frequent blood meals and can only live away from the body for about two days before dying. These tiny parasites lay eggs (nits) on pubic hairs and are often transmitted among young adults through sexual or close contact.

What are the symptoms of a "crabs" infection?
Itching and redness at the genital areas are the primary symptoms, and blue-grey spots may appear in chronic cases. Serious complications, though rare, include secondary bacterial skin and eye infections.

How should a "crabs" infection be managed?
The lice can be eradicated with agents like malathion 0.5% lotions. Trimming pubic hairs and the use of nit combs may also aid in treatment. All partners should be treated at the same time to limit cross-reinfection as carriers could be symptom-free. Bedding and clothing should be washed in hot water to kill any lice that may be present. Lice rash may be treated with topical anti-itch creams or oral antihistamines in the interim.

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