What are they?


The crabs that can live in human hair are tiny creatures with eight legs. They usually live at the base of pubic hair. Crabs lay eggs that attach to the hairs and are usually seen in the pubic area. Crabs can also be found in armpits and eyelashes.


How do you get crabs?


Crabs are passed from one person to another by close skin-to-skin contact. Crabs can also be caught from sharing clothes, bed sheets and towels.


How can you tell if you have crabs?


Crabs can cause a strong itch in the pubic region. This itch may take from three days to several weeks to occur after you first get crabs. If you examine where you itch and you do have crabs you can see tiny brown creatures or small white eggs attached to the pubic hair.




No test is required—you or your health care worker can see the crabs.




Pharmacies sell shampoos and creams for treating crabs. Ask your chemist or get a list of appropriate treatments from your health care worker.  When you start treatment you need to wash all your bed linen, towels and clothes in warm soapy water. Anyone you are (or have been) in close physical contact with should also be treated. It is a good idea to repeat the treatment after seven days. There is no need to shave pubic or other body hair.




There is no way to prevent the initial outbreak. If crabs do reoccur wash the bed linen, clothes and towels again and try to get everyone you are in regular contact with treated at the same time. Condoms do not prevent crabs.