Scabies, Lice, Crabs: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Complications


Scabies is caused by the microscopic parasite, Sarcoptes scabei. "Crabs", also known as pubic lice, are caused by Phthirus pubis. Both types of infestations are common worldwide and are thankfully fully treatable.


Scabies can be transmitted through sex as well as any other type of prolonged physical contact. Pubic lice are almost always contracted through sex. While it is possible to get either condition by sharing bedding, towels or other linens, this is less likely in the case of pubic lice as they require the warmth of a human body to survive.

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Mark Riegel, MD
Mark Riegel, MD

Quick Snapshot

Can it be cured?

Yes. Both scabies and crabs are easily treated.

Type of Infection

Parasitic. Scabies is caused by the mite, Sarcoptes scabei. And crabs are caused by pubic lice, Phthirus pubis.

How is it treated?

Medicated Lotions. Both conditions are treated with specific medicated lotions; Additionally in both cases, all clothing and bedding should be washed in hot water.

Recovery Time

Upto 2 weeks. Itching may take 2-3 weeks to go away completely.

Can I have sex?

No. Sex is not recommended until treatment of you and your partner(s) is complete.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. If you are exposed to a person, especially sexually, re-infestation is entirely possible.

Do I Have Scabies, Lice, and Crabs

Find out whether or not you have Scabies, Lice or Crabs and what STD test is recommended using our anonymous symptom checker. Get your recommendations now!

Scabies, Lice, and Crabs Symptom Checker