Ocean City Beach Patrol has stated sea lice reports are being made at Ocean City Beach after receiving several calls, confirming The Eastern Seaboard is experiencing the ‘natural phenomenon’. The Florida Department of Health stated that although the word lice are in their name, sea lice are actually a form of tiny larvae of jellyfish.
A sting from the tiny jellyfish can cause one to develop a rash, called dermatitis, causing one to have itchy, red or burning bumps that appear within four to 24 hours after exposure. Usually, people will begin to feel a ‘prickling’ sensation when they are out of the water. According to the Baltimore City Health Department, other symptoms that occur with the rash include vomiting, nausea, fever, fatigue, headache, urethritis, and pink eye.
CBS Baltimore spoke with a woman in Maryland who stated her two children were stung by sea lice while swimming near 89th Street in Ocean City on Wednesday, August 22. A lifeguard told her about complaints of sea lice before they went into the water but assured her that it wasn’t a major concern. If stung, they could simply rinse with fresh water. Without hesitation, the woman and children went into the water, where after 15 minutes her children “started losing their minds” and ran out of the ocean scratching themselves.
This sea lice outbreak isn’t’ the first one on the East Coast this year. In June, lifeguards in Florida alerted swimmers to look out for sea lice in the area. There have also been reports of sea lice on waters off Carolina and Alabama beaches.
To avoid these sea lice, officials recommend rinsing with fresh water as soon as one leaves the ocean, after lice can get into one’s bathing suit while swimming and cause discomfort. Experts also recommend not wearing the contaminated swimsuit again until it has been washed. Over the counter medicine such as antihistamines and topical creams can help alleviate the itch, but it is recommended to see a medical professional if you feel your symptoms are worse.