“Sea Lice” Are Now A Thing You Need To Worry About At The Beach

You’re probably familiar with head lice: the itchy little nuisances that required tons of rosemary-scented shampoo after your school nurse discovered them in your hair via a thin, wooden stick. If you never had them, then you probably know someone who has had head lice.

But have you heard of sea lice? I bet not. If you have any plans to head to the beach – particularly in Florida or elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico or in the Caribbean – you best listen up.

Sea lice, also known as seabather’s eruption, are nearly-invisible and live in warm oceans. While they’re an issue every year, ABC‘s KTRK-TV has reported that sea lice outbreaks are on the rise this year, particularly on the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Department of Health has stated that sea lice are about the size of a speck of pepper and are the larvae of adult jellyfish. Some people experience an immediate stinging sensation if they get them on their skin. They will later break out into a rash or experience intense itching. It can last for as long as two weeks. Some severe cases can even produce flu-like symptoms.

Luckily, it doesn’t require a trip to the doctor. The rash should clear up on its own, but you can treat any inflammation or discomfort with an antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream.

Even more interestingly, you can avoid a worse infestation by not wearing many clothes in the water as the sea lice latch onto fabric.

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