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Discharge Instructions for Crab Lice

You have an outbreak on the surface of your skin. It is caused by tiny parasites. Treatment will help get rid of them.

Steps to Take

Self Care

To get rid of crab lice:

  • Wash the area. Towel dry.
  • Cover the area well with lice medicine. Follow the package instructions carefully. Do not leave the medicine in the hair longer than advised..
  • Remove medicine from the hair as instructed on the package.
  • Lice eggs may still be attached to hair shafts after treatment. Remove them with your fingernails or a fine-tooth comb.
  • If necessary, treat again in 7 to 10 days.

You may be able to remove lice and eggs from eyebrows or eyelashes by hand. Coat the area with a prescription petroleum jelly. Remove them with a fine-tooth comb or your fingernails.

To prevent crab lice from spreading:

  • Kill lice and nits on clothing or bedding. Wash any clothes, bedding, or towels used during the 2 to 3 days before treatment. Use the hot water cycle (130°F [54°C]) of the washing machine. Use the hot cycle of the dryer to dry clothes.
  • Dry clean clothing that is not washable.
  • Avoid sexual activity until your partners have been treated.


Your doctor may want to check on your progress. Be sure to go to all advised appointments.

Problems to Look Out For

Call your doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of lice after treatment
  • Signs of skin infection, such as redness, pus, or swelling
  • New or worse symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American Academy of Dermatology

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada


Bites: pubic lice. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: https://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/common-sexually-transmitted-infections-stis/. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Parasites—pubic crab lice. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/pubic/index.html. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Pediculosis pubis and pediculosis corporis . EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/pediculosis-pubis-and-pediculosis-corporis. Accessed August 17, 2021.

Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD