So the other day I got on the bus to head to work, normal behavior, lucky me I got a seat. Sometimes the bus is so crowded I’m invading all personal space bubbles as if they don’t exist, no wonder I get sick so often. Depending on what time I get on the bus there’s often some teens who get on and off at one of the local high schools. I generally try to avoid their massive back packs (is it safe for teens to be carrying probably 100lbs worth of books on their backs now adays?!) and ignore their chatter. But this particular day I sat there listening to two young girls, who couldn’t have been more than 15 or 16 years old, talk about their friend who has crabs. At 15 or 16 years old, not only does one teen have crabs but the boy she slept with gave it to her, so two teens have crabs and nearly gave it to others as they shared clothes and had a slumber party!
One thing struck me. This is hard proof that teens NEED comprehensive sex ed. Then it struck me again…Has it been so long that I’ve been in a true sex ed class that I barely remember all the different STDs out there, what they are, what the symptoms are and if they are curable! So this week I’m going to scratch my normal posts and focus a little bit on STD’s. Because even as adults, we need a reminder every once and awhile.
Since my story started with Crabs…it makes sense to start there!
What is Crabs?
Just like the lice you can get in your hair, Crabs is technically Pubic Lice. Tiny little creatures attach the hair and skin of the pubic area and cause intense itching. Sounds like a fun right? Absolutely not!
According to Planned Parenthood, millions of people each year get Crabs.
What are the symptoms?
Like with any STD it can take some time to show, others may not get any symptoms. But in general symptoms include:
- intense itching of the genitals and anus.
- mild fever
- feeling run-down
- the presence of lice or small egg sacs, called nits, in the pubic hair. The bugs look like little crabs and are typically dark gray in color but will be darker when swollen with blood. Their egg sacs are typically white and found in clumps at the roots of the hair.
How do you treat Crabs?
Luckily, Crabs is totally treatable, even with over the counter meds. Even the ones you use for regular lice can be used (just be sure to read the directions or ask the pharmacist to ensure that it can be used near your genitals). Taking a hot bath or shaving won’t necessarily work to rid yourself of the nasty little critters, but once you’ve treated them with the medication, you want to be sure to wash all your laundry, bed sheets, vacummed the floors and cleaned any areas that may have been exposed. Also be sure to treat any others in the house at the same time.
How do you avoid Crabs?
Unfortunately Crabs is pretty easily spread. If you have sexual contact with someone who has it, its very likely that you’ll get them as well. Sometimes, like with the girls on the bus, it can be spread through clothing or bedding (the girl who had crabs had apparently borrowed one of the other girl’s leggings). There’s only one way to avoid crabs and that is to not have sexual contact with someone who has them. Using condoms unfortuantely doesn’t protect against crabs since they live in pubic hair.