By JADE RUSSELL
THE Ministry of Health and Wellness has issued an advisory warning the public of sea lice and jellyfish bites.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health officials said sea lice are the larvae of jellyfish, which float on the sea surface but are barely visible to the human eye.
Occurrences of these bites are commonly seen during the period of March to August.
“Skin contact with sea lice often results in dermatitis or seabather's eruption, which happens because the microscopic creatures become entrapped in swimwear,” the ministry said. “The eruptions produce a prickly sensation which progresses into a bumpy red rash noticeable between four to 24 hours following 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.”
Treatments include antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or Benadryl and corticosteroid creams such as Hydrocortisone.
“Bathing in colloidal oatmeal preparations and applying calamine lotion to the rash may provide comfort. Persons should avoid scratching or scraping the affected area as it may cause further skin damage. In severe cases, epinephrine and other intramuscular steroids may be required.”
The ministry advised residents to be cautious and safe.
“Beachgoers should be aware of their individual risk, especially if they have strong allergic reactions; avoid wearing t-shirts and one-piece swimsuits while swimming; and immediately after swimming change out of swimwear. Swimwear should be washed in detergent and placed in a dryer as recurrence of symptoms may present when wearing a swimsuit that was air-dried.
“Persons who suspect that they have been affected by sea lice and are noticing other symptoms along with the rash should seek medical attention.”