For those who have had the opportunity to swim in the ocean, we all face the threat of being stung by a jellyfish. Jellyfish stings are unpleasant and are best avoided when possible. Jellyfish and jellyfish larvae are common along the east coast of the United States and, in particular, through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Here is what you need to know about sea lice and sea lice bites. 

What Are Sea Lice

When we hear the word lice, our minds immediately turn to the thought of bugs crawling in our hair. However, despite being small, sea lice are not the same creature, which causes discomfort to our scalps. 

Sea lice are minuscule in size but are the baby version of a jellyfish. When jellyfish mate, larvae emerge in mass quantities along the beaches of the east coast. The larvae cause unpleasant stinging and burning to the skin of unsuspecting humans. 

Unfortunately, sea lice are not visible to the naked eye. Swimmers become stung without being aware of any threat in the vacinity. 

How Long Do Sea Lice Bites Last

When comparing jellyfish and sea lice, they share the ability to inflict painful stings upon unsuspecting swimmers.

Ocean-going swimmers are familiar with jellyfish and the affixed tentacles, which cause pain when the skin comes in contact. However, we are unaware when sea lice are within close proximity and must be aware of how long a sea lice bite lasts. 

Sea lice are equipped with petite tentacles when compared to jellyfish. When stung, the sea lice bite lasts for two to four days. Unfortunately, the bites are associated with the onset of a rash. Rashes last for up to two weeks when the body reacts adversely to the nematocysts. 

Sea Lice Sting Look Like

The level of exposure and the body’s reaction to the larvae significantly impact sea lice stings’ appearance. 

The vast majority of the population experiences itchy small red bumps at the onset. After a time has passed, the red bumps transition to blister and the formation of a rash. 

After the rash has formed, avoid scratching and causing the skin to open and bleed. 

How Do You Treat Sea Lice Bites

The solution to overcoming sea lice bites in adults and children is straightforward. Sea lice bites are treatable with over-the-counter medication and creams. 

When stung by sea lice, apply creams including calamine or hydrocortisone to reduce the feeling of needing to itch the affected area. 

After applying, avoid scratching the skins where the sea lice venom entered the body. Frequent itching results in the skin becoming an open wound. Open wounds result in infection. Infections require a doctor or hospital visit to prescribe antibiotics. 

Rather than dealing with a prolonged problem, apply anti-itch creams and avoid scratching the irritation. 

We recommend keeping hydrocortisone cream on hand when swimming in coastal waters in the event of sea lice stings. 

When Are Sea Lice Most Active

During the winter months in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, beachgoers remain on the shoreline due to sea temperatures. Sea temperatures in the winter dip into the low 50’s making swimming less than desirable. 

In the summer months, the water temperatures push into the low 80’s, making the briny sea a welcoming experience. Unfortunately, sea lice thrive during the summer months, particularly from March through August. The bites result in an uncomfortable experience for unfortunate swimmers. 

We don’t recommend staying out of the water when swimming from a boat or the beach but instead remaining vigilant. When discomfort occurs, exit the water and venture back to the beach the following day. 

How Do You Protect Yourself From Sea Lice Bits

Sea lice are invisible to the eye, and therefore unsuspecting swimmers become stung despite attempts to remain protected.

Avoiding bites from sea lice is nearly impossible. One of the most effective methods to remain safe is wearing a wet suit. A wetsuit is designed to fit from the base of the neck to the ankles. 

Wetsuits are primarily designed to keep the body warm when entering cold water. Sea lice are not prevalent during the cold winter months. Wearing a wetsuit in the summer defeats the purpose of cooling off after basking in the heat of the summer sun. 

Now You Know The Impacts And How To Treat When Being  Bit By Sea Lice 

Rather than remaining on the shore in fear of sea lice, enter the water and cool off. We must all remain vigilant but cannot avoid coming in contact with sea lice. Keep anti-itch creams on hand to apply when becoming stung. Enjoy the opportunities you have to play in the sand and swim in the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.