HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.
By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE MINISTRY of Health has issued an advisory warning beachgoers following an eruption of sea lice and jellyfish bites.
Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said officials received many complaints about sea lice and released the statement to educate the public about the problem after concluding there was a significant presence of the parasite.
In a statement, officials from the Ministry of Health said sea lice are the larvae of jellyfish and are barely visible to the human eye as they float on the water surface, becoming entrapped in the swimwear of swimmers.
“Skin contact with sea lice often produces a skin reaction called dermatitis or seabather’s eruption described as a ‘prickly’ sensation which progresses into a bumpy red rash noticeable between four hours to 24 hours post exposure. Lesions from the skin rash can last up to two weeks. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, muscle spasms, joint pains and difficulty sleeping,” the Ministry of Health’s statement noted.
Treatment is limited to supportive management with the administration of antihistamines and corticosteroid creams, the ministry said, adding that in severe cases, epinephrine and other intramuscular steroids may be needed.
“Bathing in colloidal oatmeal preparations and applying calamine lotion to rash sites may provide comfort,” the ministry added. “Ensure fingernails are clipped short to avoid further skin damage by scratching of lesions. Seabather’s eruption is not considered contagious but can affect all swimmers in a particular location.”
The statement recommended beachgoers prevent being affected by sea lice by being aware of the risks.
“Avoid wearing t-shirt and one-piece bathing suits while swimming; females are strongly advised to wear two-piece bathing suits,” the ministry noted.
“(Additionally), after swimming, change out of swimwear immediately and wash in detergent, dry via artificial heat. Reoccurrence of symptoms may present when wearing a bathing suit that was air dried.
“If you suspect you’ve been affected by sea lice and are noticing the other symptoms listed along with the reach, seek immediate medical attention at your nearest healthcare provider.”