Florida beaches have an unwelcome guest in the form of a troublesome marine creature. After reports of sea lice in the water surfaced, Pensacola is currently issuing warnings for the possible presence of potentially dangerous marine life thus implying that it is flying the proverbial purple flags. The sea lice have not been reported in other beaches in the Gulf Coast such as Gulf Shores, Panama City and Destin. These beaches are flying yellow flags which indicate that the surf could be potentially dangerous albeit without any indications for presence of life-threatening marine creatures.

Sea lice should not be confused with lice on the grounds of name. On the contrary, sea lice are actually miniature jellyfish larvae and are commonly found in the warm waters of the Florida Gulf Coast and the Caribbean in the period between April and July. According to information provided by the Florida Department of Public Health, when trapped between a bathing suit and the skin, sea lice sting which could result in small blisters and red rashes.

The bite of sea lice could also result in severe reactions in certain cases which may include headaches, fever, nausea and chills. The symptoms appear generally after four to six hours of leaving the water and could last till almost two weeks. The common approaches for treatment include medications for inhibition of itching and antihistamine. According to the recommendation of the National Institute of Health, application of vinegar to the skin could prevent further bites of sea lice.

The Florida Department of Public Health has also suggested some recommendations to avoid sea lice. People are required to observe the flags as well as avoid water infested with sea lice and if their skin is susceptible to irritations. It is preferable to avoid one-piece bathing suits or t-shirts in the ocean for limiting the surface area which could trap sea lice. Upon coming out of the water, it is advisable to change out of the bathing suit at the earnest and take a shower with warm water. The bathing suit should be washed thoroughly followed by using heat for drying the suit in order to ensure that the lice are removed completely.

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