Sea Lice Are Lurking in New Jersey Waters


Beach towns along the New Jersey coastline are reporting cases of sea lice. Although they're just as annoying as the land-based kind, sea lice are not exactly the same — they’re actually jellyfish larvae. They have the same stinging cells that are in full-grown jellyfish but, because of their size, they can sneak under swimsuits and stick to bodies. Sea lice tend normally to be found in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, but last month warm currents carried the larvae north. It’s believed their journey was triggered by Tropical Storm Isaias. What makes sea lice particularly menacing is that they’re almost impossible to spot in the water, so you won’t know you’ve been bitten until it’s too late. If you believe you were bitten by sea lice you're encouraged to take off your bathing suit as soon as possible and take a shower. Washing your swim suit in hot water and detergent will kill any remaining larvae. Heat drying your swim suit after washing it will also help. If you react to the bites and start swelling, any over-the-counter antihistamine should help.