How are Scabies, Lice, and Crabs treated?

Scabies is treated with a prescription body lotion. Follow the directions carefully. However, generally the lotion is applied to the entire body. Leave it on for a specified time and then take a shower or bath. A second treatment may be required.

Crabs are treated in a similar fashion. After thoroughly cleaning the infested area, apply the lotion (or shampoo) and leave on for the recommended time before rinsing clean again. Nits will likely remain and should be removed with a special "nit comb". A second treatment may be required.

In both cases, any clothes or bedding used in the three days prior to treatment should be washed in hot water and dried on high.

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Recovery Time

After treating for crabs or scabies, itching may continue for a few weeks, even if the treatment is successful. This is because of the allergic reaction to the bites of the parasites. Your doctor may suggest comfort measures during this time.

Sexual Activity

It is important not to have sex until your symptoms have gone away and you have completed your medication.

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.