How to treat sea lice stings

Coming into contact with sea lice can leave you with an uncomfortable rash, here’s how you should treat it.

The sea lice we often experience after swimming at the beach, are not a marine parasite, but jellyfish larvae that have the same stinging cells as adult jellyfish. These creatures tend to travel in groups and prefer warmer water conditions, which unfortunately means they are very common in waters off Queensland.

Coming into contact with sea lice may cause you to break into an uncomfortable rash. You can ease the discomfort by following this step-by-step sea lice rash treatment:

  1. Get out of the ocean.
  2. Wash your skin under fresh water.
  3. Remove and rinse swimwear.
  4. Treat the rash.

Should you be stung, you may experience an itching or burning sensation. It is important you immediately remove yourself from the water to begin treatment.

Find a cold beach shower or tap under which to wash your skin. Dry the affected area of your skin using a patting, rather than a rubbing motion. You may not be able to see any rash straight away. It can take up to six hours to appear.

Remove your swimwear as soon as possible as these microscopic larvae have a tendency to get trapped in it. Rinse your swimwear under fresh water or wash them on their own in a washing machine.

Once the rash does appear, it can last up to two weeks. To ease the discomfort during this time you can try a few different remedies. Apply a diluted solution of vinegar and water to the affected area. Hydrocortisone cream is also often effective, as is chamomile lotion and oral antihistamines.

For most people, an uncomfortable rash that lasts a couple of weeks is as bad as it gets. But if your reaction is worse, you should seek immediate medical treatment.

For five ways to treat mosquito bites, click here.