Sea Lice Bites and Jelly Fish Sting Remedy for Surfers

March 19, 2021
March 19, 2021 Bill Arseneau

Why Does Getting Bit by Sea Lice Suck?

The pain, the rash, the fever, difficulty breathing, nausea, and possible allergic reactions. Reports of 100+ fever in children have been documented. Everyone will have similar, yet different symptoms like a red rash. Which can look insane! and oddly cool in a weird way. Moral here. Don’t freak out, it will go away, and be sure to follow our tips below on how to limit the symptoms.

What is Sea Lice?

Sea lice, as we South Florida surfers call it, are actually Thimble Jellyfish larva that can appear most often when seaweed is present and strong currents. Most notably every time we get waves in the early spring and summer months.  These critters are tough to see in the water because they are very tiny and can be as small as a millimeter across up to 10 centimeters long. Simply put, they are invisible!


How Long Does it Take to Heal from Sea Lice Bites?

When seal lice get trapped under your boardshorts or a bathing suit they can release toxins when they come into contact with your skin creating a red-itchy rash that can last up to two weeks. This is a common occurrence for us surfers especially, as our natural body pressure against the surfboard can cause the sea lice to activate faster.

According to Abaco Escape, the larvae can release the most toxins when exposed to freshwater due to osmotic explosion. The toxin is a protein in nature and will respond to acid denaturation. This is the most highly kept secret. So when you first get out of the water, grab a spray bottle that contains white vinegar (Acetic Acid) to reduce the stinging sensation and the overall rash marks. This solution also works well on Jelly Fish stings as well. Be mindful, of the Man-of-War, which is another process altogether. We have provided the steps on the treatment for sea lice, jellyfish, and man-of-war stings.

Should I Pee on the Sea Lice Bites?

There is a common myth with surfers that if you pee on sea lice bites it can help soothe the pain. However, this can actually cause more damage by moving the singers around with the velocity of your stream. Gross! Also, urine contains a lot of water and sodium, which can reduce the effectiveness.

How to Treat Sea-Lice Bites and Jelly Fish Stings

There are a few more steps you will want to consider after you get stung by sea lice or jellyfish that include spraying the infected area with vinegar,  removing the bathing suit, and washing in detergent and hot water. You can also use anti-itch cremes like calamine lotion, ice packs, and over-the-counter ibuprofen to help with the itching. And remember, not to itch the infected sea lice bites, they will spread and cause more pain. Try to be patient and know they will go away within a few weeks.

Sea Lice and JellyFish Spray Sting Protection 

  1. Buy a clear plastic spray bottle
  2. Create a solution of diluted vinegar
  3. Spray the infected area and bathing suit with vinegar immediately after leaving the ocean.
  4. Remove the bathing suit
  5. Wash the infected area with seawater- NOT freshwater.
  6. Washing your bathing suit in hot water and with detergent
  7. Dry the bathing suit on high-heat separate from other clothing
  8. Apply anti-itch lotion like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to soothe the pain.
  9. Apply Ice Pack Covered with cloth
  10. Take antihistamine like ibuprofen or Benadryl
  11. Be Patient, the symptoms and rash will go away within a few weeks.

Jelly Fish or Man-of-War with Tentacles Sting Protection

  1. Get out of the water.
  2. Check for allergic reaction (heart or breathing problems)
  3. Wash the infected area with seawater- NOT freshwater.
  4. Apply wet sand compress baking soda to stabilize the singers let sit for 3-5 minutes
  5. Remove tentacles with the edge of a credit card, towel, glove, etc. Do not touch with bare hands.
  6. Remove stingers
  7. Apply a hot compress.
  8. Apply anti-itch lotion like calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to soothe the pain.
  9. Apply Ice Pack Covered with cloth
  10. Take antihistamine like ibuprofen or Benadryl