Virginia Beach swimmers reporting a major rise in sea lice stings

Side effects are typically minor, like a rash or bumps.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Swimmers at the Virginia Beach oceanfront are feeling something other than refreshment in the water.

A woman says she pulled a small, nearly invisible creature off of her child's skin after they went swimming this week.

A group of girls told News 3 reporter Allison Mechanic the same thing was in their hair, their bathing suits and on their skin Friday morning.

"We didn't know what they were. We thought they were just like broken shells in our bathing suits," said one of the girls.

Lifeguards say the tiny creatures are called sea lice, which are actually jellyfish larvae.

They're known to show up in the Atlantic Ocean periodically, but this week, lifeguards said there has been a major rise in people being stung by them.

Lifeguards said the best thing to do is just rinse off with fresh water and then the sting should go away.

Side effects are typically minor, like a rash or bumps.

While it's unclear what caused the increase of sea lice at the beach this week lifeguards don't think they'll be in the water much longer.

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