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Old 03-18-2002, 06:27 PM   #1
Scott H
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Almost Everything you wanted to know about Sea Lice , But were afraid to ask

Almost Everything You Wanted to Know About Sea Lice, But Were Afraid to Ask

What are these critters we call Sea Lice?

First off, they are not lice. They are the larval form of the Thimble Jelly Fish. Thimble Jellies look like a large brown thimble that would fit on your thumb. Don't waist your time looking for the larva as they are rather small. The larva may still be present even if there are no mature Thimble Jellies to be seen. A more proper term for exposure to these larvas would be Sun Bather's Eruption (SBE). Each larva is covered by nematocyst. These are the guys that cause the SBE. When there is a change in the larva's environment, (i.e. going from salt to fresh water, drying out, feeling trapped between your skin and swimwear) the nematocysts fire. When they fire they inject a substance into your skin that causes the reaction. The reaction leaves you with itch red bumps. These are most often found in areas that were covered with swimwear.

Somewhere I read but now cannot find, the source that the larva often could be found in Turtle Grass and they tend to get stirred up by careless swimmers. There is a little bit of Turtle Grass at Castaway Cay Snorkeling area; you know the shallow swim way that leads to the main area. Yep, that area where everybody stops to stand up and adjust their gear, where they can also stir the Turtle Grass and get the larva stirred up.

These critters are usually found in the wider Caribbean area from March to August. The greatest chance of exposure is from April to June. I have been told that there is a pattern from South to North as the waters warm. Personally I have seen them heavy in the Bahamian out islands in May.

How do you prevent or lessen your exposure?

Get out of your wet swim garments immediately after you leave the water. Shower only after you are out of your swim wear. By rinsing with your swim wear on you might cause the nematocysts to fire.

Before the advent of SafeSea a healthy application of sunscreen was recommended. Some folks used baby oil or even petroleum jelly.

I became aware of SafeSea about three years ago. SafeSea is a sunscreen developed to help prevent exposure to sea critters that sting. (There is a disclaimer that SeaSafe has not been tested against Portuguese man-o-war and box jellyfish. These are very dangerous and I doubt if there are any volunteers to be test subjects.) It has received good reviews and can be found a dive shops. Their website is www.nidaria.com. SeaSafe maybe available at either of these outlets www.diversdirect.com or www.lifestylesdirect.com.



OK… too late I got those pesky bumps now what do I do?

When you first see those red bumps form, a good scrubbing with soap and water with a very good strong rinse. You can also soak the affected area with white vinegar. Calamine lotion may be helpful. Topical application of hydrocortisone twice daily might lessen the reaction. They should dissipate in about 7-10 days.

Make sure you wash your swimwear well and make sure it is dry before worn again.

If you have a severe allergic reaction or a prolonged reaction seek medial evaluation.

Hope this helps to answer your questions about Sea Lice, a misnomer for SBE. Don't let those little critters keep you from enjoying the "Big Blue Wet Thing" (the ocean).
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Old 03-18-2002, 10:24 PM   #2
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re

great info thanks scott great links as well thanks cmatt
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Old 03-19-2002, 01:18 PM   #3
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thanks Scott. I know people have asked about this before. thanks for putting it all together.
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Old 03-19-2002, 02:10 PM   #4
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You are welcome, No probs,
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Old 03-22-2002, 03:56 PM   #5
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I'm curious. Are the sightings of these little guys new? I sailed on the Magic Maiden in July and hadn't heard anything about them. We snorkled and none of us were effected. Do they go for one type of skin over another? Is the infestation larger now than it was a few years ago? Why am I all of the sudden seeing it pop up everywhere? I assume getting out of your bathing suit ASAP is a good idea anywhere on the cruise then huh?
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Old 03-23-2002, 01:16 AM   #6
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They've been around for years and years. I read that people didn't realize what they were until the late 1940s or so.

I think the reason you're seeing this topic more often is that the typical season is about to begin for South Florida and the Bahamas and that they seem to be more intense in the last four or five years.

Here's a link to an article from the Palm Beach, Florida newspaper that is very informative:
Palm Beach Article

And another article from Florida Atlantic University:
FAU Article

I have used the SafeSea product with the SPF30, I bought it from the LifeStyles Direct Website, $12.95 plus shipping. It was on their home page along with their bathing suits. They make bathing suits that allow you to get a tan through the fabric, but I didn't try that, just the SafeSea.
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Old 03-23-2002, 08:23 AM   #7
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Albiats, Thanks for the additional info and links.

From what info I have been able to gather it seem there is a relationship between water temp the presence of the thimble jellies. As the water warms the concentration increases. Thus when southern Caribbean waters warm they come out. This progresses as the waters warm the farther north you go. From personal experience it seems the northern Bahamas area peaks throughout the month of May.


The key is this.... yes they are there , some simple measures will reduce your risk of being affected, and if affected it wont last long. Get into to water and have a good time, diving, snorkeling, swimming etc.

I kinda liken it this ..... I grew up in Chicago, when I return there or any large city where you can see and cut the air , my throat gets irritated from the poor air quality. Bothers me a little, yes, keeps me from traveling, no way.
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Old 03-23-2002, 10:29 AM   #8
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I want to say THANK YOU I sat with my chair in the water on March 8th at Castaway cay had a wondeful day, when we got back on the boat to a quick shower on deck 9 the got in the hot tub for a little while. Well I have had itching bumps since, this rash is mainly around the bottom of my bathing suit and let me tell you I was really freaking out cause I didn't know what it was ,did I pick up something in the Spa or the hot tub ? Well now I know and feel slightly better knowing but still uncomfortable. I never saw any jellyfish but did hear some on e say that there was one if there is one there is more . I will have seasafe on from now on when ever I go ing the warm ocean water. Thanks for the info
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Old 03-31-2002, 11:17 PM   #9
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Seasafe UVA/UVB

I have had skin cancer...does anyone know if Seasafe is waterproof, has UVA and UVB protection? Thanks!
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Old 04-01-2002, 12:03 AM   #10
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I'm reading the label on my bottle of Safe Sea and it does not say the exact words 'waterproof' on it. I did find those words in the description of the product on the 'lifestylesdirect' website, so I believe that it is. The label does suggest reapplying it after swimming though.

I bought my bottle of Safe Sea with the SPF30 rating. It comes with SPF30, or SPF15, or without SPF protection.

I'm not that familiar with the SPF qualification and I just figured that if anything said 'SPF' that it would automatically have to have UVA and UVB protection. Guess I'll have to research it further to find out if that's true or not. I can't find those specific words on the bottle or the websites.

Something I don't remember reading earlier from the bottle - It says if you have reason to believe that Sea Lice are present, that you should apply the lotion at least 10 minutes before going into the ocean and that it should be applied UNDER the bathing suit as well as on exposed areas.

After all the reading I've done on this subject and after ordering it before our last cruise, you'd think I would have considered that from common sense, but that point missed me completely. Next time, it goes under the suit too!
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Old 04-07-2002, 06:10 AM   #11
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Ewwwwww

I've never heard of sea-lice and I've been living in the Caribbean for 8yrs!!!!
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Old 04-07-2002, 04:38 PM   #12
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Safe Sea Lotion

Hi, All.

We just returned from the Wonder cruise that left Easter afternoon. We used the Safe Sea lotion (30 SPF). We bought our bottle at Ron Jon's Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach.

One bit of advice for anyone using the product...it's REALLY thick. It has the consistancy of Elmer's school glue. :-) We applied it to our kids' skin (DS 14 and DS 9) but didn't have enough left in the bottle to do both of our adult bodies as well. We ended up using regular sunscreen on our backs, arms, faces and lower legs. So, if you're going to use it on all members of your family, you may want to purchase two bottles of it.

Regards,
Robin and Dan
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Old 04-13-2002, 08:13 PM   #13
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We just returned from the April 7th WONDER cruise and luckily experienced no problems with sea lice. I had ordered the Safe Sea about a week and a half before we left but it did not arrive until after we had left home. I was so worried about the sea lice but we had no problems.
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:05 PM   #14
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Boy do I feel stupid!! I've lived in the South Florida area for 20+ years and am well aware of these pesky little guys. Well...yesterday my 11 DS and I went to visit my neice and her 1 year old DD staying on at a condo on the beach near our home. We decided to go down to the beach for a while. My DS went snorkeling for a half hour or so. He rinsed afterwards and changed into dry clothes. Well this morning he said he had a bunch of mosquito bites. I knew better. So, even us informed folks get hit by them. Luckily, he has a pretty mild case, mostly his underarsm, back and waist area.... He's being great about them,and trying not to scratch.
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Old 05-17-2002, 07:06 PM   #15
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Never heard of them...

I lived in Florida for 21 years. Miami and Sarasota. I have been stung by a jellyfish,But never heard of Sea Lice. I don't doubt they are real, just never heard of them:D

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