Sea lice stings are predominantly caused due to the skin’s reaction to the thimble jelly fish or the larvae of sea anemone. These organisms tend to travel in big groups ‘blooms’, and are rather rampant in warm waters.
Ocean swimmers propose that you will come across them when there’s a lot of floating seaweed around.
Symptoms Of Sea Lice Bites
Commonly seen symptoms of sea lice bites are:
- You may experience a tingling sensation in the skin. This tingling sensation is often experienced whilst still in the water; it is usually felt in the breasts, groins and areas around the wetsuit cuffs.
- After an hour or two, there will be intense itching which lasts for several hours to even several weeks.
- About 3 to 5 hours later a rash develops all over the body. The rash may appear inflamed or irritated and comprises of tiny red bumps. The papules are about 1mm – 1.5 cm in size, and develop on areas of the skin that’s covered by clothing or hair during ocean swimming.
- Some people, and particularly children, could experience flu-like symptoms. Some may complain of nausea, fever or exhaustion.
- Initially, there is no manifestation; this is because each organism has one undeveloped nematocyst which is inactive whilst it is suspended in sea water. Due to their microscopic size and sticky body, huge concentrations get trapped in small gaps between the clothing and the skin. Once you get out of the water, the organisms that have stuck die and release the nematocysts when dried out, crushed, or exposed to fresh water.
Home Remedies And Treatment For Sea Lice Bites
Follow these first aid measures and home remedies to manage the stings of sea lice; on the other hand, if the symptoms do not abate in the least bit, you need to consult a health care provider immediately.
- When you leave the sea water, flush your skin in fresh water; make sure you remove your swim wear before showering. Hot showers are recommended.
- When you dry yourself, use a patting motion; do not rub the skin.
- Most importantly, give your swimsuit a very good wash before you wear it again. You need to ensure that all the cells have been washed out thoroughly.
- Experts recommend using vinegar and meat tenderizer over the affected areas; they are wonderful natural remedies and they realty help reduce the itching and inflammation. Shake the meat tenderizer over the irritated and inflamed area and then pour vinegar on it. Repeat frequently till the itching diminishes.
- Do not scratch the area at all; also avoid wearing clothes that irritate the already inflamed and tender skin.
- You could apply topical creams to manage the discomfort and itching. Creams containing hydro-cortisone decrease the inflammation as well as the itching. Talk to your health care provider and use the appropriate creams.
- Anti-histamines afford relief as well. They reduce the redness and itching substantially. Administer according to package instructions.
- Topical anti-biotic creams help ward off the risk of developing secondary infections caused by the sea lice stings.
- In case the symptoms do not subside at all, you need to visit your doctor. Symptoms tend to last for 2 days to 2 weeks. Rashes which last longer signify the presence of a secondary infection.