Despite what the name suggests, sea lice are actually small jellyfish larvae. When under pressure, they release inflammatory, stinging cells that cause itching and redness.
Sea lice creep underneath swimmers’ bathing suits and sting beachgoers. They can cause itchy, red rashes, nausea, headaches and lethargy.
The rashes are known as “seabather's eruption” because of the intense itching those afflicted experience.
So, you’ve been stung. Now what?
Rinse with fresh water, a spokesperson for the Ocean City Beach Patrol suggested in a Facebook post. Antihistamines and topical creams can help control itching. But Dr. Joseph W. Burnett, a professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of Maryland, said those are ineffective and recommends treatments such as Noxzema, Sarna or Bengay.
The health department in Florida, which is also dealing with sea lice, recommends swimmers wear sunscreen because it may protect from sea lice stings. Swimmers should also avoid T-shirts and consider wearing two-piece swimsuits to reduce the amount of fabric sea lice can get trapped underneath.