Bay County

‘Sea Lice’ Causing Problems for Swimmers in Florida Panhandle

Sea lice typically float harmlessly in the water, but sometimes get trapped inside swimsuits

What to Know

  • Jellyfish larvae, known as "sea lice," have been stinging swimmers in the Florida Panhandle.
  • The almost invisible lice leave behind a rash or bumps on the skin. The rash is often called "ocean itch'' and lasts from hours to days.

Swimmers at a Florida Panhandle beach are dealing with painful rashes from stinging jellyfish larvae, more commonly known as "sea lice."

Sea lice are almost invisible to the naked eye, but they leave an unmistakable sting, the Panama City News Herald reports. They've been reported along Walton County's Santa Rosa Beach this week.

Scott Jackson, a sea grant extension agent in nearby Bay County, said some scientists have compared the larvae to specks of pepper. They typically float harmlessly in the water, but sometimes they get trapped inside swimsuits. That's when they sting.

Jackson said they leave behind a rash or bumps on the skin. The rash is often called "ocean itch" and lasts from a couple hours to several days.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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