ibusinesslines.com September 22, 2018

Florida Panhandle beachgoers warned of stinging sea lice

28 June 2018, 10:26 | Melissa Porter

Report: Sea lice stinging swimmers at Gulf of Mexico beaches, some 200 times or more

Florida Panhandle beachgoers warned of stinging sea lice

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

Florida lifeguards have posted a purple flag warning on a number of area beaches alerting bathers to the danger of sea lice. We also have purple flags in the air due to sea lice (small jelly fish) please keep in mind to drink plenty of water and apply lots of sunscreen.

They cannot survive outside of warm water and will not latch unto the body once a person gets out of water.

Other nearby Gulf Coast beaches in Florida and Alabama are not now affected by sea lice, AL.com reports.

The Florida Department of Health classified sea lice as "microscopic jellyfish" called thimble jellyfish, and cautioned it can cause dermatitis, with small, red bumps appearing on a person's skin.

Sea lice are barely visible to the naked eye.

Serious cases of sea lice can show flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, chills and nausea. That's the colloquial name given to the larvae of thimble jellyfish that typically show up in area waters between April and July. These little pests can cause itching, stinging, rashes, swollen skin and dermatitis. The condition usually appears between four and 24 hours after exposure, but some people may feel a "prickling" sensation while in the water. Female swimmers wearing one-piece suits and children and adults wearing T-shirts in the water can be at risk of a more severe reaction, the Florida Department of Health says.

Do not swim when "sea lice" are present.

Wear sunscreen, it may help reduce contact with the larvae.

The report quoted the Florida Department of Health as saying the larger the surface area of your bathing suit, the more lice stings you might get.

Wash your bathing suit thoroughly with detergent and then use heat to dry it. Air drying isn't enough. Topical 1% cortisone cream or a sting aid may also be helpful. Symptoms of "swimmer's itch" include tingling or burning skin, small reddish pimples and tiny blisters.

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