FLORIDA – It lurks in ocean waters, feeding on human flesh. No, sharks aren’t the only things you need to be wary of if you plan on taking a dip in the ocean! “Sea lice,” also known as “Seabather’s eruption” or “Ocean itch,” is an itchy rash you can get after coming into contact with thimble jellyfish.
The adult sting can hurt something fierce, but it’s their microscopic larvae that can cause nasty bumps and even flu-like symptoms. The baby jellies pretty much disappear in the water, so they’re hard to avoid.
They tend to get trapped inside the fabric of your swimsuit, and that’s when they start to sting. You won’t feel it until the nasty itchy rash appears, sometimes along with fever, chills, headaches and nausea.
The best thing to do is rinse your swimsuit in household vinegar or rubbing alcohol before washing and reusing.
The Florida Department of Public Health says cases are starting to pop up this year along the Gulf Coast, but it’s still to early to tell how widespread the infestation could be. Relax, it won’t kill you! We’ll leave that to the sharks.