Sea lice reports fail to deter beach visitors

Visitors packed the Navarre Beach Gulf shore last week despite reports of sea lice. The Navarre Beach Lifeguards flew the purple flag to warn bathers of the critters and the rash they can cause.

Sea lice are actually not lice at all. They are tiny, pepper-like jellyfish larvae that float in clouds in the Gulf between March and August each year.

Head lifeguard Charles Marek said that although the critters appear every year, this year has been the first time he has heard visitors complain.

“It comes and goes,” Marek said. “One day they will be here. The next day they won’t. You can’t see them necessarily. They’re not like man-of-wars that float on top of the water. Those are the dangerous ones. The sea lice are just annoying. This is the first year that it has been a problem.”

According to the Florida Department of Health, sea lice can cause an itchy, red rash referred to as sea bather’s eruption. The rash is generally mild appearing within a day in areas that are covered by a swim suit. The sea lice get trapped in garments while a person is swimming. The rash usually fades in about a week.

Read the full article in the June 16 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe to your community newspaper.

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