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Sea Lice Outbreak: How Big of a Problem is it?

Healthcare, Science

Sea Lice Outbreak Swarms the Gulf

It happens every year as soon as the days grow longer, and the waters get warmer. People drive to beaches in droves, hoping to enjoy the sand, surf, and sun. They know to avoid the stingers of jellyfish in the water, and washed up on the beach, but not very many people know about the sea lice outbreak.

Sea Lice, also known as Ocean’s Itch, Seabather’s Eruption, and Sea Poisoning, is very common in the summer months, though very few people know what actually is happening. The ‘dangerous’ little ‘menace’ that has been attacking the Gulf Coastline is simply teeny tiny jellyfish larvae.

Don’t misunderstand us, these little buggers can pack a wallop just like the full grown adults, but they’re hardly as dangerous as the media has been portraying them.  There have been a few ‘extreme cases’ where the victim looks like they’ve come down with chicken pox, but it’s just an allergic reaction to the jellyfish venom.

The rashes can be awkward, however. What’s the most common place for these ‘sea lice’ rashes? Under your swimsuit and other ‘delicate’ areas. The little larvae get trapped in swimsuits and just keep on stinging since they can’t get away.

How can you avoid the little stingers? The easiest way is to simply swim naked. Without a swimsuit, the sea lice don’t have anything to get trapped in. Sure, you may still get a sting or two, but nothing too severe. Another option is to use a zinc based waterproof moisturizer or a layer of Vaseline. No one is too sure if these options work, though.

When it comes to treatment: DON’T USE WARM WATER WHEN SHOWERING! The warm water can cause the jellyfish to keep stinging, even if they’re dead. Experts recommend taking off your suit, and taking a cool shower. If you end up with a rash, oatmeal baths and calamine lotion work wonders to take the itch and sting out.

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