What is it?

Crabs are also known as public lice. They are tiny mites that can be found in pubic hair, but can also be found in other coarse hair such as in armpits, beards, chest hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. They lay eggs that attach to the hairs.

How do you get it?

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

What are the signs?

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

Tests for Crabs

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

Treatment for Crabs

Crabs can be treated or killed by using special shampoo and creams and can be purchased at your local chemist without prescription. When you start treatment you need to wash all your bed sheets, towels and clothes in warm soapy water. If you came into close physical contact with anyone they need to be treated for crabs as well. It is a good idea to repeat the treatment after seven days.

Preventing Crabs

Crabs can be passed on very easily so there is no way to prevent getting crabs at first, but treatment is easy. If crabs do reoccur make sure you use the treatment and wash the bed sheets, clothes and towels again, and try to get everyone you are in close contact to also do this.

Condoms do not prevent you from getting crabs.

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We acknowledge and pay respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work.