Sea lice are popping up along Gulf Coast beaches. Sea lice, also known as beach lice, outbreaks have been reported mainly along the Florida panhandle. However, biologists say they expect to start seeing more sea lice move along the coastline to warmer waters, which means they could be headed to our area.
Sea lice are virtually impossible to see underwater, making them difficult to track. They are known to get stuck underneath bathing suits and irritate the skin, causing a rash known as seabather's eruption.
Rashes may include elevated skin with a reddish tint and some small blisters. Severe reactions can cause fever, chills, nausea and headache.
Officials say the best form of treatment is to rub the affected area with sand or the edge of a credit card and flush the skin with hot water. Your natural reaction may be to flush the affected area with cold water, but don't - hot water is the key, experts say.
Sea lice have been confirmed in Florida's South Walton and Santa Rosa Beaches. Experts say sea lice appear particularly in areas with warmer climates, such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.
While they can be found throughout the year, sea lice are most active from the months of April through August.
To learn more about sea lice, visit FloridaHealth.gov.
Sea lice invading Gulf Coast beaches