Beachgoers - Beware of sea lice

Sea lice dangers

HOMEWOOD, AL (WBRC) - A warning for those of you spending your summer along the Gulf coast - you could get bitten by stinging sea lice.

When you hear lice, most of us think about head lice, and the incredibly frustrating process to get rid of them.

But with sea lice, it's a different story. And, thankfully, they're not as hard to get rid of.

Dermatologist Dr. Corey Hartman, with Skin Wellness Center Dermatology, said it's called 'seabathers eruption.'

He said they're organisms that live in the sea, and can get trapped under your bathing suit, causing irritation like itchy skin, redness and hives.

The Florida Department of Health said sea lice become a problem usually between March and August.

They're as big as a fleck of pepper and float on the water's surface.

"You will start to feel something going on, pretty immediately. Because it's a parasite," said Dr. Hartman. "They'll be moving around. So you'll feel some itching, and then you'll start to see the change in skin with the redness or the hive-like reaction as time goes on."

If you are bitten by sea lice, Dr. Hartman said you need to wash the bathing suit in very hot water and shower in the hottest water you can stand.

You can treat it by taking an antihistamine or using hydrocortisone or prescription creams.

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