Monday, November 28, 2022

‘Sea lice’ are really just baby jellyfish that sting, cases reported in Carolina Beach

Thousands of baby jellyfish are out and about in the ocean near Carolina Beach during spawning season. Swimmers are still safe to enjoy the ocean during this time and can treat the irritation with an over-the-counter anti-itch ointment.

Cases of "sea lice," which are baby jellyfish during spawning season, have been reported in Carolina Beach. (Port City Daily/File photo)
Cases of “sea lice,” which are baby jellyfish during spawning season, have been reported in Carolina Beach. (Port City Daily/File photo)

CAROLINA BEACH—Baby jellyfish are out in numbers in Carolina Beach as the latest bout of “sea lice” has hit the water this summer.

Commonly referred to as “sea lice,” the tiny stinging creatures are actually baby jellyfish, born during the spawning summer season. When in the water, people can unknowingly graze by the tiny jellyfish and get stung, resulting in painful and itchy rashes later on.

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Earlier this week, Carolina Beach released an announcement to address the sea lice cases that appeared over the weekend. Though some swimmers may notice a sea lice sting right away, rashes often appear after drying off or showering.

While the stings may cause irritation, the release states the ocean is still safe to swim in during sea lice spawning season.

Those who have encountered sea lice are advised by the town of Carolina Beach to rinse in clean, warm water and not to rub the irritation. An over-the-counter topical anti-itch ointment such as hydrocortisone or colloidal oatmeal can be used to calm the itch.

For more questions regarding sea lice, Carolina Beach asks that people reach out to Ocean Rescue captain Chad Soward at chad.soward@carolinabeach.org.


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