Crabs & Scabies

Crabs are tiny bugs that live near or on your pubic hair, although sometimes they move to other body hair, like beards, mustaches, eyelashes and underarms.

Scabies are tiny bugs that burrow under your skin. They can be passed by everything from sharing a towel to dry humping. Even though both crabs and scabies are highly irritating, they are both harmless, easily and quickly treated and certainly not worth the anxiety caused by some other STDs.

How do you get it?
Crabs jump and Scabies move from person to person by close contact, often during sex. You can also catch crabs and scabies by sharing clothing, bedding, or towels with someone who has them.

How do you avoid it?
If you’re fooling around with someone who has Crabs or Scabies, no change in sexual behavior, short of isolation, can really protect you. If you’re carrying the bothersome critters, it’s probably the polite thing to keep your distance from your boyfriend, fuck buddy, etc., until you’ve taken care of the problem. It is best to have him/her treated, even if he or she isn’t itching. Chances are they caught this highly contagious STD from you and will only give it right back the next time you climb into bed together.

Symptoms?
For Crabs:
itching, itching, itching, although you may not itch at all until you have had them for some time. The itching usually begins about five days after you’ve been bitten, and is concentrated wherever you have pubic hair. Crabs are also well suited to facial hair like eyelashes, eyebrows, and beards. They are about 1 millimeter long, visible to the naked eye, and look like little Crabs (hence the name). You might also see some waxy white specks attached to your pubic hairs. These are the eggs called nits, and they are usually so well cemented that they need to be removed with a very fine comb.

For Scabies: about 10 days after infestation the skin develops an allergic reaction, although a carrier can pass them along before that point. If you’re itching like mad but can’t see any signs of Crabs, especially if your hands are itching most, you may have Scabies.

Scabies are much smaller than lice, and instead of attaching to the surface of the skin like Crabs do, they burrow underneath to lay their eggs. And unlike Crabs, everyone who has Scabies eventually develops itching. Scabies burrow under the skin, causing short, wavy, dirty looking lines that cut across the normal lines of the skin, usually limited to the webbed skin between the fingers as well as on the wrists, elbows, and penis. Small lesions and papules that can look like eczema or common rash occur within the burrows.

Testing and treatment
For Crabs:
most over-the-counter shampoos used to treat head lice will do the trick. Rid and Triple X are good, as is A-200 Pyrinate, which require two applications. Complete the treatment by using a fine “nit” comb to remove any of the remaining dead eggs. These medications are strong, but if any eggs remain, another treatment is necessary one week later. For Crabs on your eyelashes or eyebrows, coat them with Vaseline and they die from lack of oxygen. You can’t use crab shampoo around your eyes. About a week later unhatched eggs may hatch, and additional treatment may be needed. You’ll also have to wash all of your clothes, sheets, and towels in hot water and dry them thoroughly with high heat to kill the Crabs and their eggs. If you have anything that cannot be washed, store those items, individually, in a sealed bag for 30 days so that any unhatched eggs will die.

For Scabies: topical lotions (for example: Elimite) are available for prescription only. To rid your body of the mites, you must rub the lotion thoroughly into every inch of skin, from the soles of your feet all the way up to (but not including) your head. Wash it off after 8 to 14 hours. The itching from Scabies may take days or weeks to completely subside, even after you are totally rid of them.

HIV connection?
People with AIDS can develop a condition known as Norwegian, or crusted, Scabies. The skin erupts into scaly patches containing large numbers of mites. These patches of skin shed frequently, making it even more contagious.

What else should you know?
If you don’t get treated for Crabs or Scabies, they won’t go away, and the severe itching will continue. As bad as the itching may be with both Crabs and Scabies, you should avoid hydrocortisone creams, which can make the underlying problem worse.

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