Health Care

Florida beaches now feature sea lice

Florida beaches now feature sea lice”

The purple flags warn swimmers of potentially risky aquatic life; sea lice are actually a form of tiny jellyfish.

On Tuesday, Pensacola Beach Lifeguards posted a warning on Facebook noting that there were purple flags along the beach to caution swimmers of the presence of sea lice. We also have purple flags in the air due to sea lice (small jelly fish) please do not forget to drink plenty of water and apply lots of sunscreen.

It can be hard to avoid them in the water, but that did not stop people from going in the water at Pensacola Beach Tuesday.

Sea lice, despite the name, is not actually lice.

If you have been feeling a little itchy after frequenting northwestern Florida beaches in recent days, it could be because of a reported invasion of sea lice.

According to the Florida Department of Health, sea lice, also sometimes called seabathers, are microscopic jellyfish called thimble jellyfish.

Sea lice are not really lice at all.

Serious cases of sea lice can show flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills and nausea. The organisms tend to get trapped between swimmers' bathing suits and skin where friction can cause their cells to "fire", or sting. One man says he felt the sting.

Sea lice can not live outside of the water, however they cause human skin to break out with itchy rashes that have bumps and welts. It can last for days after that.

Always check lifeguard postings before swimming. After you remove your bathing suit, shower with warm water.

Avoid wearing t-shirts in the water.

Treatment for dermatitis caused by sea lice can include an antihistamine, such diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, or an oatmeal bath.

The surface area of a bathing suit may also increase the area over which someone can get stung.

Wash your bathing suit thoroughly with detergent and then use heat to dry it. Air drying isn't enough.

Symptoms will usually clear up by themselves, but if your symptoms become severe contact your doctor immediately.

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