I know that sea lice are pretty much an annual occurrence in New Jersey...but it doesn't make it feel any less "2020" to add another damn annoyance to our list.

Thanks to Tropical Storm Isaias, warmer waters were pushed north a bit earlier than usual, which has led to reports of sea lice showing up on beaches in South Jersey, like Ocean City, Avalon and Stone Harbor.

Sea lice are basically baby stinging jellyfish. They are in the larval stage of that creature's life, but even the babies can cause bad reactions in humans. According to Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, the sea lice can cause skin irritation and rashes. If you do run into these nasty buggers when you're swimming, your best bet is to get out of your suit (wait til you're home, thanks) and get into a hot shower. WebMD says over-the-counter treatments like hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion will help, or maybe even an antihistamine. In severe cases, doctors maybe prescribe a steroid.

Tittel told The Press of Atlantic City that while nature is partly to blame, it is also partially because of the sewer system in South Jersey:

This shows that we need to do more to both tackle stormwater runoff and leaky sewer pipes as well as climate change. This is a direct result of problems from both climate change and stormwater runoff. The nutrients in the water came from Tropical Storm Isaias last week. As the summer continues to be hot and rainy, the invasion of sea lice could spread up and down our coast.

[Sea lice are a result of the] state’s failure to deal with fertilizer runoff, leaky sewer pipes, and septics.

Climate impacts will create even better conditions for sea lice as water temperatures rise and pollution worsens. We must work to retrofit storm basins and restore watersheds, wetlands and stress, and preserve environmentally sensitive areas. Otherwise, we will continue to see more problems along the shore like sea lice.

Be careful if you're out in the water!

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