Jellyfish larvae Sea Lice Tiny jellyfish larvae Jellyfish Farm video

Surfing with Sea Lice

The often misnamed Sea Lice is actualy a beautiful translucent jellyfish larvae the size of a grain of pepper. The Scourge of the Andaman Sea they can also reach infestation levels in the Krui area.

Sea Lice don't attack you. They get trapped under and in the fabric of your bathing suit or rub against your skin. The pressure on the organisms cause their stinging cells to discharge toxins into you.

On a short 10 day trip getting stung by these little critters will in most cases lead to being covered in small bumps, welts and being as itchy as hell. Itching last for 3 days and the welts up to 1 month.

However repeated exposure to the toxic stinging cells can lead to a mild or servere anaphylactic reaction. Children under 15 are more suseptible to servere reactions and should be carefully monitored after being stung.

Seal Lice stings from surfing Sumatra mainland Rash from Sea Lice stings

Treating Sea Lice stings.

A lot of advice on treating Sea Lice stings is just cut & paste or AI generated rubbish that will only make your stings worse. The following advice is from our experience while surfing the waters of Sumatra.


  • Don't - Wash in fresh water. This will cause the sting to release more toxins into you.
  • Don't - Rub the stings. This will cause the sting to release more toxins into you.
  • Don't - Use the same bathing suit until it has been completely cleaned of Sea Lice.
  • Don't - Swim in infested waters for many days in a row as you will risk developing a servere toxic reaction.


  • Do - Wash yourself off in Sea Water that is not infested with Sea Lice.
  • Do - Remove your bathing suit as soon as possible.
  • Do - Rinse your skin with vinegar to remove the Sea Lice and toxin cells. Be careful to keep the vinegar away from your eyes or sensitive skin. Do not rub it into your skin !
  • Do - Apply hotwater (max 40 degrees Celsius) to the stingers for 15+ minutes. Hotwater can be hard to find in rural areas of Sumatra an alternative and convienient method is to use a hair dryer as it's easy to control the heat being applied. Heat breaks down the proteins in the stinger toxins.
  • Do - Soak your bathers in boiling water. Then rinse them with a solution of water and vinegar.

Seek medical advise on the use of antihistamines to provide relief from the itching and reduce swelling.

Be extremely carefull when applying heat to your skin so as not to scald or burn yourself!

Servere reaction

Sea Lice toxins can cause a mild or servere anaphylactic reaction. An anaphylactic reaction could begin hours after being stung, then quickly require immediate medical attention. If you experience any of the following symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

  • headaches.
  • vomiting.
  • fever.
  • chills.
  • swelling of the tounge, lips, throat.
  • problems breathing.

Must haves in your medical kit

  • Vinegar (called Cuka in Indonesia).
  • Hair dryer.
  • Antihistamines approved by a medical professional.