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"Sea Lice" Are Now A Thing You Have To Worry About At The Beach

You're probably already familiar with head lice (whether you've had it yourself, or know someone who has). But have you heard of sea lice? If you've got any beach plans this summer -- particularly in Florida or elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean -- listen up.
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For Teen Vogue, by Brianna Wiest.

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Photo: Condé Nast via Getty Images

They cause flu-like symptoms and intense itching.

You're probably already familiar with head lice (whether you've had it yourself, or know someone who has). But have you heard of sea lice? If you've got any beach plans this summer -- particularly in Florida or elsewhere in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean -- listen up.

Seabather's eruption, or sea lice, is almost-invisible and lurks in warm oceans. While they're an issue every year, ABC's KTRK-TV of Houston has reported that sea lice outbreaks are on the rise this year, particularly on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the Florida Department of Health, sea lice are about the size of a speck of pepper, and are actually the larvae of adult jellyfish. Because they are essentially tiny, baby jellyfish, some people do experience an immediate stinging sensation if they get them on their skin, only to break out in a rash or intense itching later on. This can last for as long as two weeks. Severe cases can also produce flu-like symptoms.

Thankfully, the rash should clear up on its own, and if you're really in a pickle, consider treating inflammation or discomfort with an antihistamine or hydrocortisone cream. Interestingly enough, you can avoid a worse infestation by not wearing many clothes in the water -- they leech to fabric.