Stinging sea lice may be back for the summer, but a Boca Raton inventor is offering a way to get rid of the misery.
The "Wipe Out" is now available, according to inventor John McAdams.Swimmers coming out of the water with skin smarting from sea lice or other nasty ocean critters can wipe the towelette over the affected area. It releases a natural enzyme called papain, derived from papaya plants, that attacks proteins and neutralizes the toxins, McAdams said.
"You just wipe it on and it wipes out all of the stings and pain," said McAdams, 54, a hospital and medical-firm worker who also holds patents on other inventions.
The pad washes out injured tissue and tiny barbed stinger cells hooked into the skin, and reduces welts, he said.
Swimmers could have less of a chance of being stung by sea lice this year: El Nino - already blamed for a world of weather woes - is causing windier skies and rougher waves off south Florida's coast. That may disperse the tiny devils, said Alina Szmant, a professor at the University of Miami.
"It's really when they're more concentrated that the problems occur," Szmant said.
Sea lice most often show up between March and August off the Palm Beach County coast, where the Gulf Stream comes closest to shore. The microscopic organisms attach to swimsuits and sting their hosts. The greatest infestations usually occur in May, but health officials already are reporting sporadic cases, and some lifeguards are listing sea lice on their beach-conditions signs.