PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG/WFLA) – Pensacola Beach lifeguards are warning swimmers about stinging sea lice.
The lifeguards flew Purple Flags at Pensacola area beaches on Tuesday because of the sea lice.
Experts say sea lice are really the larvae of marine life, like jellyfish.
Sea lice is also called sunbather’s eruption, according to the Florida Department of Health. Residents and tourists along 250 miles of Florida’s southern Atlantic coastline have previously complained about the rash. Sea lice is often reported during the months of March through August.
It can be hard to avoid them in the water, but that did not stop people from going in the water at Pensacola Beach Tuesday. One man says he felt the sting.
“Every now and then I’d get a little itch or something,” Eric Clevenger said. “Or a little burn feeling like an itch, but that’s it.”
Monica Kapatch says lifeguards gave her a little piece of advice that might reduce the risk.
“Not to go above your knee length in the water,” Kapatch said. “We stayed close to shore and we were fine.”
The Florida Department of Health says the surface area of a bathing suit may increase the area where stings can occur. Female bathers wearing one-piece suits and children and adults wearing T-shirts in the water can increase the risk of a more severe reaction.
The FDOH said it is not unusual to see evidence of 200 or more stings under a person’s bathing suit.
Experts say if you do come in contact with sea lice, you should wash your swimsuit and dry it under high heat. Calamine lotion can help reduce the rash and itchiness.