Florida (CBS Local) — Authorities are pestering Floridians and visitors of the state to use caution when going to the beach after the announcement of a sea lice outbreak.

Florida’s Department of Health announced that certain beaches in the Pensacola area will feature purple flags in order to alert swimmers about the presence of sea lice.

“It’s just one of those you have to deal with when you go into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Pensacola Beach’s director of public safety Dave Greenwood. “You are a land animal and the Gulf is not our native environment.”

Sea lice cannot live outside of the water, however they cause human skin to break out with itchy rashes that have bumps and welts.

The Department of Health recently released a report, advising swimmers with tips on how to avoid these creatures and measures to take when your skin breaks out. The department recommends that swimmers avoid wearing t-shirts in the water and that they should take an oatmeal bath if their skin begins to break out in a rash.

The beaches affected by this outbreak plan to check their water daily and will take down the purple flags once the sea lice are gone.


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