Tags: stinging | sea lice | florida | beaches

Stinging Sea Lice: Florida Beaches Warn of Annoying Inhabitants

Stinging Sea Lice: Florida Beaches Warn of Annoying Inhabitants
Florida beaches are reporting the presense of stinging sea lice. (Javier Cruz/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 27 June 2018 04:47 PM

Stinging sea lice have been reported on Florida’s Pensacola Beach and other nearby beaches, with lifeguards flying the purple flag to signify the presence of dangerous marine life.

The organisms are not actually lice, according to the Florida Department of Health, but the larvae of the thimble jellyfish, which have caused similar situations for beachgoers since the early 1900s.

The microscopic creatures cause dermatitis, or a rash, for those affected, and may also cause a “prickling” sensation while in the water, according to U.S. News and World report.

Those wearing T-shirts or one-piece bathing suits into the water may be most at risk from sea lice because the clothing traps the larvae. Some swimmers getting stung more than 200 times, U.S. News reported. 

The Department of Health said outbreaks of sea lice can occur intermittently between March and August and are more likely to occur from April to July. Changing out of bathing suits right away, showering after swimming, and using sunscreen can discourage the lice. 

For those who are exposed, the Department recommends hydrocortisone cream and oral antihistamines for the itching. 

“It’s just one of those [things] you have to deal with when you go into the Gulf of Mexico,” Dave Greenwood told the Pensacola News Journal. “You are a land animal and the Gulf is not our native environment.”

Greenwood said lifeguards were checking the waters throughout the day and would take the purple flags down if the sea lice recede, the Journal reported. 

A survey in 1992 showed about a quarter of all swimmers in the area of an outbreak were affected, the Department of Health said. 

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Stinging sea lice have been reported on Florida's Pensacola Beach and other nearby beaches, with lifeguards flying the purple flag to signify the presence of dangerous marine life.
stinging, sea lice, florida, beaches
273
2018-47-27
Wednesday, 27 June 2018 04:47 PM
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