What is the Difference Between Scabies and Crabs?

Often people get confused between the two prevalent skin issues – scabies and crabs (public lice). While both these sexually transmitted diseases have commonalities, these differ greatly. Have a look.

What is the Difference Between Scabies and Crabs?


Pubic lice also known as crabs, or Fullers are tiny parasitic blood-sucking insects that infest the human genitals that causing itching and red spots.

Crabs are parasites that feed on human blood. These are usually found on the pubic hair, however can also be found on other parts of the body where a person has coarse hair including armpits, eyelashes, and facial hair.

Having crabs not at all means a person is unclean or dirty. Instead the most hygienic person can get crabs. The most noticeable symptom of crabs is itching that usually begins about 5 days after a person gets crabs.

There are several treatments for crabs. While some treatments require a prescription, others do not. The only way to prevent infestation with crabs is to avoid contact with the infected people, and their belongings like bed linens, clothing, and furniture.


Symptoms of crabs may not become apparent until one to three weeks of the infestation. Signs and symptoms may include:

Itching in the pubic region – Itching is not caused by biting from the parasite, but from an allergic reaction to the louse saliva and feces (droppings, excrements, stools). The itching is usually worse at night.

Blue spots on the skin – Occurs especially on the thighs or lower abdomen

Louse droppings – the presence of dark brown or black powder on the skin or in then underclothing can be an indication of the presence of crab droppings.

Other parts of the body – the parasite may spread to the stomach, upper thighs, mustache, chest and beard. In children they may spread to the eyelashes.

Adult pubic lice and eggs – Adult pubic lice is smaller than a match head, approximately 2mm long. It has six legs and has a gray-brown color. The back legs are very large, and are used to cling onto the hair.

Both the adult pubic lice and their eggs are visible to the naked eye. You may be able to detect them in coarse hair in the following parts of your body:

  • Along the edge of the scalp


  • In facial hair (beards, mustaches)


  • In the eyebrows


  • In the eyelashes


  • In the hair around the anus


  • In the hair of the armpits


  • In the pubic hair (genital area)

Scabies Infestation

Scabies are microscopic mites that live under the skin. They burrow under the top layer of the skin and lay eggs there. These mites cause skin irritations that resemble eczema or allergies. The itching is severe usually at night and cause skin rashes. You may find raised bumps on the skin between fingers, under the breasts, around the waist, wrists, genitals, or buttocks.

Scabies is a highly contagious disease that can be transmitted through both sexual contact and contact with infested clothing, bedding, towels, or even furniture.

The burrowing of these mites inside the skin is an obnoxious feeling that can drive anybody crazy. The itch and the irritation are almost certainly difficult to take and the whole family is at risk of infection. Scabies is very hard to diagnose as the symptoms take time to occur. If scabies isn’t diagnosed and treated on time, it can lead to Crusted scabies – a worsen condition that can lead to death even.

So, to sum it up – scabies is the worst ailment! But do not ignore the other either. While for Scabies, you can use Dr. Scabies, other can be easily be dealt with some good over the counter products.

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