Itchy & Rashy: Thimble Jellyfish Reported by Beachgoers
Some people call them 'sea lice.' In either case, they ain't fun.
So far it seems that only beaches further south of Ocean County have reported people coming out of the water feeling like they got 'burned' or developing a rash from these tiny sea creatures.
According to NJ Sea Grant, if you swim in the ocean when it's warm or after a storm, you might find yourself with an itchy rash. What's the cause? Thimble jellyfish larvae.
Because, although sea lice exist, they don't actually 'bite' humans.
Ready for nightmares? The jellyfish larvae that cause this rash float in the ocean and swim up under your bathing suit. When they get stuck, they release stinging toxins pretty much the way full-grown jellyfish do, only not as bad. But the rash will be on the areas of your body that your bathing suit covers. YIKES!
The rash could also develop in spots in your armpits, and on your arms, neck, and legs. The stings form small, very itchy and red bumps on your skin, which could turn into blisters.
The rash may not even appear right away. It actually usually takes 4 - 24 hours after you swim to see the full-blown result, although you might feel a slight prickling sensation in the water.
And, to add to the fun, the rash could last up to two weeks.
The 'good news' (if you can call it that) is that the toxins released by the larvae aren't dangerous to your health. However, if you develop a fever and chills along with the rash, make sure you see a doctor.
If you want to avoid these stings, the answer is simple: stay out of the water during peak season...aka NOW. Especially since that 'little' tropical storm that just swung through.
If you and your kids MUST swim, though, the best way to try and protect yourself is to wear a wetsuit or a swim suit made from tightly-woven fabrics.
One-piece bathing suits or wearing a t-shirt in the water are both the WORST things you can do! They help trap the larvae!!!
If you realize you've been 'attacked', get out of that swimsuit and rinse off in the shower as quickly as possible. Then wash your bathing suit in hot water and put it into the dryer. The heat should kill any of the thimble jellyfish still trapped in the fabric.
I. can't. even.