Called “Pediculus” or “Phthirus” in scientific terminology, commonly known as Crabs, they are external parasites that are transmitted from person to person most-commonly via sexual contact and grow rapidly when personal hygiene is poor. They are extremely small, despite the fact that they are very similar with crabs, which is why they are also called crustaceans. They have a flat shape, with three pairs of legs on either side of the body (from which it takes its descriptive name).
Infestation is easily done, including by towels or sheets.
Doctors claim that the crabs are endangered, at least in civilized countries, due to the increasingly popular habit of complete or partial pubic hair removal.
They are part of the “Filum arthropodus” family, they have an oval shape, a maximum diameter of 2 mm and a grayish color. Their legs are made up of five segments, each ending in large claws that they successfully use to grasp and move around in pubic hair.
They feed on blood, which they get by piercing the skin with the lower jaw, strong enough to pierce the epidermis. While using the pharynx pump to suck the blood from the tissue, their saliva causes the “victim” itching and irritation. They eat mostly at night, when feelings of discomfort intensify. The lesions caused on the skin are gray-blue.
Adult crabs can live for about a month, during which females lay about 30 transparent eggs which they cover with a substance called chitin, forming with it a hard shell that includes both eggs and hairiness around which they are laid. The capsule thus formed reaches a size of 0.5 mm, it can be seen with the naked eye and can be detached from the hair only with great difficulty. The incubation time is 14 days, then the larvae appear, having the same appearance with adult lice, only that they are much smaller. At 2-4 days after hatching, the larvae are able to move and feed by themselves. They remain in this state for 15 days, when they become adults and repeat the reproductive cycle.
Because of the severe itching, it is impossible not to scratch, thus the contact of irritated skin with the nails, which also carry microbes, can lead to other infections as well. Multiple bites produce a crust that causes the skin to become rough.
Most cases of infection are found among teenagers because of “casual” sex practiced with many partners. In the absence of proper hygiene, in men, the lice can move quickly to the hair on the chest, sometimes reaching to install even in the pilosities of the armpits.
The treatment has evolved a lot and, at present, pharmacies offer enough efficient products to combat these microorganisms. There are shampoos, lotions or powders that can be applied over the entire pubic area. It is necessary to carefully read the prospectus and follow the instructions. If you do not want to remove the pubic hair, it must be strongly brushed with a comb with very dense teeth, to successfully remove all the eggs.
Once the treatment is applied, it is also necessary (in order to eliminate the risk of reinfection) to carefully disinfect all clothing, towels and bedding that you used up to that time. For proper sterilization, washing with hot water and ironing at a high temperature is indicated. Objects that cannot be cleaned in this way, must be treated with specific substances against lice, or hermetically sealed in bags that will be opened only after two weeks.
Treatment of all partners is mandatory, including screening for possible other sexually transmitted diseases. As a means of protection, in this case, the only form of prevention is through careful attention to the personal hygiene of those with whom you come into (intimate) contact. Condoms cannot protect pubic hair.