If you feel itchy after bouncing off the beach this summer, you may have come across these tiny creatures lurking in Florida's southern Atlantic coast: Sea Lice.
The lifeguards of Pensacola Beach have been raising purple flags for several days,the presence of "dangerous marine life". In this case, lifeguards have received reports of mild sea lice bites and warn beachgoers in the area.
Dave Greenwood, head of public security for the beach, told The Pensacola News Journal that sea lice are widespread in the area, while the water gets warmer and said that visitors to the beach should not panic. "It's just one of the things you have to deal with when you drive into the Gulf of Mexico," said Greenwood. "You are a land animal and golf is not our home."
What are sea lice?
First, these creatures are not related to head lice . In fact, they are jellyfish larvae that can get caught in bathing suits (take a moment to absorb that horrible picture). When pressure is exerted on the miniature larvae while they are on the skin, it releases stinging cells that cause irritation, itching, and sweating, according to the Florida Department of Health. Sea lice seem to love human hair so people often find rashes on the necks of hair that dangle in the water and then come into contact with their skin Dermatitis, also known as seasick breakout, makes itself, according to investigations by the Ministry of Health between four and 24 hours after exposure to sea lice, although some people have reported "tingling" in the water. The severity of the symptoms can vary from small, barely perceptible rashes to large vesicular rashes. Other symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and infected blisters. Children can also get a high fever. Many people also report sleep disturbances, probably due to the intense itching. In general, these symptoms disappear within two to four days, but can last up to two weeks.
How do you treat and avoid sea lice?
An oral antihistamine is recommended to relieve an itchy sea-buck rash, and a topical 1
From the beginning of April to the beginning of July, sea lice bites are at their peak, but can also occur in March and August. The officials recommend that swimmers observe the local beach reports and take some steps to help themselves and their loved ones avoid sea-lice in the water:
- Avoid wearing t-shirts in the sea – topical sun creams can help Protect skin from the sea Lice bites (in addition to reducing exposure to harmful UV rays)
- Consider using one-piece bathing suits to reduce entry points for sea lice.
- Change your swimsuit as soon as you leave the water and shower as soon as possible.  Wash bathing suits with detergent and heat dry (do not air dry). You may even want to remove the swimsuit if Seelice has been reported in the area.