WHAT IS IT and WHAT to do IF YOU HAVE BEEN STUNG
They are mostly on our north facing beaches, Big Manly, Red Beach, etc. However a single report came in on Arkles Bay. (18/2/19)
Sea lice bites tend to make the news every summer, but they aren't even actual bites, rather the sting of larvae of the thimble jellyfish. These tiny creatures become trapped in your togs or crevices of your body like your armpits. So the sting or "bite" of the "sea lice" is actually caused by a poisonous toxin released by the larvae when they get squashed.
While you are in the water you might experience a tingling sensation on areas of your body covered by swimwear. Over the next few hours an intensely itchy, burning rash with small blisters develops. This can appear anywhere on your skin but a tell tale sign is that the rash is usually confined to areas that have been covered by your swimsuit where the larvae have been trapped. Other symptoms may include fever, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea (more common in children). Symptoms normally do not start until 6 hours after exposure and can last anywhere from 2 day to weeks.
If you are unfortunate enough to have gotten stung, visit us at the pharmacy to get something to help with the itch and rash, such as an oral antihistamine or topical treatment (ask about our own Sea Lice Lotion (out of stock as at 18/2/19)) If your child has additional symptoms, please get medical advice to check that it is not a more serious condition. Machine was your togs in hot soapy water and thoroughly dry (preferably in a hot air drier) as hand washed and air dried swimsuits can still contain larvae that can sting again.
Whilst the only real prevention is to not swim with the jellyfish... it is a hot summer and that water looks ever so refreshing. Besides, swimming at the beaches during our sea lice season doesn't mean you will definitely get stung. Outbreaks come and go and some people seem to be more susceptible than others. However here are some helpful tips to help you avoid that rash:
Remove your swimsuit as soon as possible.
Do not rinse with fresh water while still wearing the swimsuit as the fresh water will cause the stinging cells to fire.
Shower in high pressure water (after removing swimsuit) as this will help to remove any larvae still on the skin.
Also remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap Coasties and enjoy our amazing beaches.