Sea Lice Invades Waters In Florida And Gulf

Posted: Jun 7 2016, 3:46am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 7 2016, 9:27pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

Sea Lice Invades Waters in Florida and Gulf
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  • Sea Lice are Not Cute Baby Jellyfish
  • They are Harmful to Swimmers

What are termed sea lice are actually harmful to swimmers. Sea Lice often invades summer waters in Florida and Gulf coast beaches.

It has many names from sea lice to pika-pika and ocean itch. It is basically a skin rash the cause of which is a tiny creature. This creature invades the waters of Florida and the Caribbean each summer.

It causes harm to swimmers. Some of them break out in bumps while others tend to portray flu-like symptoms. The creature is as small as the full stop at the end of this sentence. Called sea lice, they are actually baby jellyfish or sea anemones.

These sea lice have been extant in the waters off the coast of Florida since the past 100 years or so. The skin breakouts in humans is caused by the larvae of the thimble jellyfish or Linuche unguiculata.

While they are visible to the unaided eye, they often disappear from view and tend to aggregate later on. You just cannot miss them. They get trapped in bathing suits and bikinis and then sting.

While the adult jellyfish stings hurt, these tiny tot stings don’t hurt at all making them all the more insidious. Nobody is aware that he or she has been stung until the rash appears a day later.

Along with the rash, there is fever, chills, headaches and nausea. The rash consists of bumps that are prominent, red in color and very itchy.

Those who have been subject to such a sea lice eruption are more likely to undergo the same problem the next time they go out for a swim in the cool waters during the summertime.

Also youngsters and surf dudes and dudettes were more likely to get such a rash from the sea lice. Many swimmers can avoid this rash by removing their swimsuits before showering after a dip in the ocean.

The larvae can easily become trapped in the mesh fabric of the swimsuits. So washing the swimsuits afterwards with vinegar and rubbing alcohol is best.

The symptoms of sea lice stings go away soon and often leave the swimmer puzzled as to what happened. Yet there are chances for those sensitive to the problem to develop a flu that lasts for weeks.

Children are especially susceptible to the sea lice stings. They are often treated by corticosteroids. Anti-allergy drugs and anti-itch lotions are ideal for milder versions of the skin rash.

Sea lice stings are becoming a more and more common complaint among swimmers off the Florida coast with the passage of time.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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