Is There a Difference Between Scabies and Crabs?

Scabies or Crabs?

scabiesWhat’s the difference between crabs and scabies?  A lot of people mistakenly assume that they are the same thing, or at least related.  However, that is not true.  While both can cause itching, and both can be embarrassing to have, they are entirely different conditions.

Crabs and scabies are caused by two entirely different creatures.  Crabs is caused by an insect also known as pubic lice, which is closely related to head lice.  The big difference between the two is pubic lice has large claws on its front legs, making it look like a crab.  Scabies is caused by a microscopic mite which looks like a turtle.  This mite is called sarcoptes scabiei, and it is completely unrelated to the lice insect.

These two diseases are diagnosed in different ways.  For crabs, the doctor just has to look in the hair to find the bug.  You can even diagnose yourself at home.  But scabies requires taking a skin scraping and looking at it under a microscope.  The doctor will find something like these pictures of scabies feces and diagnose the condition.

The two diseases spread in different ways.  Crabs is an STD, while scabies can spread through anyone in close conditions.  For this reason, it’s commonly found in nursing homes and day care centers.  Also, it’s usually recommended that the whole family is treated if one person has scabies.  Crabs is harder to catch as it doesn’t live long off the human body.

They also produce different symptoms.  Crabs may cause a small rash and some itching localized to the genitals.  Scabies causes intense itching and a bumpy, red rash all over the body.  See these pictures of scabies on hands.

Finally, they are treated differently.  Crabs can be treated with an over the counter medicine called permethrin.  Scabies requires a powerful prescription to eliminate.  Even then, scabies symptoms can continue for several weeks until the body gets rid of the allergens left by the mite under the skin.

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