If you’re among the thousands of travelers headed to the Gulf Coast for some fun on the beach this summer, you need to be on the look out for sea lice.
Unfortunately, sea lice are impossible to spot with the human eye. According to ABC News, the tiny microbes are actually the larvae of adult jellyfish. These tiny jellyfish can attach themselves to a swimmer’s bathing suit, and can cause a painful stinging that usually begins a few hours after initial contact.
Cases of rashes from sea lice have been on the rise in the Gulf Coast region, especially in Florida.
“Outbreaks of seabather’s eruption occur intermittently between March and August, but they appear to peak during early April through early July,” The Florida Department of Health says. “Seabather’s eruption appear to be caused by shifts in South Florida’s currents, with the highest incidence of cases in such areas as Palm Beach County and Northern Broward County, where the Gulf Stream passes closest to shore.”
If you want to avoid an encounter with sea lice, try and wear the least amount of clothing possible while in the water. Also, make sure you change into a different bathing suit each time you enter the water to avoid extended contact with the organisms.