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Sand Fleas: Tiny Beach Biters and How to Outsmart Them on Your Cruise

Sand fleas, also known as beach fleas or sandhoppers, are tiny crustaceans that love warm, sandy beaches – exactly like the ones you'll find at many cruise destinations! While they're not dangerous, their bites can be itchy and annoying, putting a damper on your fun in the sun.

Where to Find Sand Fleas

These jumpers are most common in tropical and subtropical regions, so popular cruise destinations in the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Florida are prime spots to encounter them. They live in the sand, particularly along the high tide line and near dunes.

What Do Sand Fleas Look Like?

Imagine a miniature shrimp that can jump – that's basically a sand flea! They're reddish-brown or black, about the size of a flea (around 1/16 of an inch), with long bodies and powerful jumping legs. You probably won't see them hopping around, but you'll definitely feel their bites.

Do Sand Fleas Bite? You Bet!

Sand fleas are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale and our body heat. They bite by latching onto our skin and sucking out a small amount of blood. The bites themselves are usually painless, but they leave itchy, red welts that can appear in clusters.

Dealing with Sand Flea Bites on Your Cruise

While sand flea bites are unlikely to happen onboard the cruise ship itself, they are a possibility during beach excursions. Here's how to find relief if you get bitten:

* Wash the bitten area with soap and water to remove any sand or debris.

* Apply a calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to reduce itching and inflammation.

* Resist the urge to scratch! Scratching can worsen the irritation and increase your risk of infection.

* If the itching is severe or you have an allergic reaction, consult the ship's doctor or a local medical professional at the port.

How to Avoid Sand Flea Bites on Your Cruise

Here are some tips to keep those pesky sand fleas at bay and ensure a relaxing beach experience on your cruise:

* Pack insect repellent: Look for a repellent containing DEET (at least 20%) and apply it liberally to exposed skin before heading to the beach.

* Cover up: Wear light, loose-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs.

* Skip the sand sitting: Bring a beach chair or towel to relax on instead of sitting directly on the sand.

* Shower after the beach: Rinse off with clean water and change out of your beachwear to remove any sand fleas that might be clinging to you.

By following these tips, you can minimize your chances of getting bitten by sand fleas and enjoy a fun-filled beach day on your next cruise vacation!

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