Sea Lice in Cancun

If you are visiting Cancun between March and August then you should know about "sea lice" and how to avoid them. In Cancun they are called Agua mala (bad water) or pica pica (itchy, itchy) and throughout the world as Seabathers Eruption. Sea lice are responsible for an itchy painful rash when swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea off the beaches of Cancun, at certain times of the year. Safe Sea is widely regarded as the best preventative treatment to avoid this itchy pest that could spoil your vacation.

Sea lice are not lice at all, however. They are the microscopic larvae of the thimble jellyfish (Linuche unguiculata). Around the size of speck of pepper, sea lice float freely through the warm seas during the late spring and early summer months. Areas of bare skin normally escape unscathed, but if they go through your bathing suit the fabric acts as a net and their venom can be triggered leaving large red welts and blisters - and often in the most sensitive of areas!

Skin irritation becomes noticeable between 4 and 24 hours after swimming and being exposed to sea lice, and some people have reported a prickling feeling while in the water. A sea lice rash is not a pretty sight. Large red spots, or welts begin to form and can blister and are accompanied by intense itching. The number of spots can be in the hundreds, irritation normally resides within a week.
Mainly due to the itchiness you may have trouble sleeping. Other, more rare, symptoms can include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle spasms, fever, and a general sense of malaise.

Sea lice season extends all the way through from March until August, but the highest risk months are April, May, June and July. Outbreaks are sporadic though and not normally consistent throughout the whole of the sea lice season. The best source of warnings for when outbreaks are happening are those in the area. Talk to other vacationers, the lifeguards and in many cases other hotel staff will know. Look out for leaflets handed out either on the beach or in your hotel lobby.

A sea lice irritation is a kind of dermatitis i.e. an inflammation of the skin. Many of the treatment methods are similar to other kinds of dermatitis such as eczema. An antihistamine such as diphenhydramine will soothe the itching plus a hydrocortisone cream of 0.5% should be applied. If the affect is severe then a corticosteroid steroid cream may be considered. I am not 100% sure but I suspect this will not require a prescription in Cancun, not a lot of things do!
For comfort applying calamine lotion will also help. Safe Sea is not a treatment it is a preventative measure and therefore should not be applied after an attack has already occurred.

Safe Sea

Safe Sea

The sensible traveler should always take along a few medications when traveling abroad. If you're traveling to Cancun between March and August then you should consider buying Safe Sea. After all, you'll be taking sunscreen with you and why not take one that not only protects you from the sun, but can also defend against sea lice?

Safe Sea claims to be the worlds only solution against marine stingers and not only does it help prevent a sea lice irritation but it also protects against most other jellyfish too. Featured on the BBC program Tomorrows World.

Safe Sea is available with several degrees of Sun Protection Factor and has been dermatologically tested for sensitive skin. You may also be able to purchase Safe Sea at places such as small local dive shops in your area. But one place you will NOT find it is in Cancun.

Click here to buy Safe Sea from Amazon