Florida’s State Department Of Health Warns Beach Goers Of A Sea Lice Outbreak On The States NorthWestern Shores.
The beaches of North West Florida are lines with purple flags as of this afternoon. This is in warning to the beachgoers of a sea lice outbreak. It is an apparently a prevalent season for them according to the state department from March-August. This year is particularly bad for beachgoers, however.
What are sea lice?
It becomes most apparent that the skin is infected by sea lice by the rash that becomes prevalent. Also referred to as ocean itch, pica-pica, sea poisoning, sea bather’s rash, Caribbean rash, and beach lice rash among other names, sea lice rash appears when a swimmer comes into contact with and get stung by the tiny larvae of thimble jellyfish.
When in water, thimble jellyfish larvae can’t be seen. They often make their way through one piece bathing suites where they get trapped. When pressed against the body, the larvae unleash a stinging havoc as a self-defense mechanism. This is why the Florida State Health Department urges beachgoers to wear two-piece suits when swimming.
How do you know if you have been stung?
You will feel a slight stinging sensation in the areas stung a few hours after the incident. Most likely when bathing after swimming. The reason you will not feel it when it happens is due to the size of the thimble jellyfish larvae.
A rash will appear within the following 24 hours. Sea lice rash is typically very itchy and accompanied by raised, red areas of skin with bumps or blisters of varying sizes. Other than itching and bumps or blisters, the rash may be accompanied by the following symptoms, especially in more severe cases:
- A headache
If you have had sea lice before, you will be more prone to the rash. This also means the rash will cover more of the skin area.
In order to treat sea lice you can do the following:
- Take a shower immediately.
- Soak swimwear in a tub of vinegar and water overnight to kill all remaining larvae.
- Cook regular oatmeal and place on the infected area after cooled.
- After the oatmeal is washed off, rub on calamine lotion.
- Or apply a hydrocortisone cream.
Using a cold compress will help relieve the itching as well. As is the case with most rashes, scratching the area only makes it worse. It is also an option to take over the counter antihistamines to help with the itching as well.
How can you avoid sea lice?
Well, the simple answer to avoiding sea lice is paying attention to the health department websites of where you will be swimming. Also, know that the color purple on a flag mean sea lice outbreaks have been reported there. Keeping yourself informed can save you from a week of itching and oatmeal baths!
However, if you still plan on swimming, it is important to remember the following:
- Take your swimsuit off as soon as you are done swimming. If there is anything inside the suite, this will limit the contact time on the skin.
- If you are in a private swimming area or a nude beach, consider swimming in your birthday suit. This will make a zero chance of anything being pressed against your body for any periods of time.
- If allowed where you are swimming, apply a layer of vaseline to your skin. This makes it hard for anything to stay on your skin for any period of time.
- There is also a safe sea jellyfish protection lotion you can find online to use instead of vaseline.