‘Stinging Seaweed’ in Hawaii

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Beware of the “stinging seaweed” that has been washing up on shorelines throughout Hawaii. It has been the cause of an itchy rash that beach-goers say break out once they exit the water.

Kailua Beach has had the most cases, according to KHON 2 News. The doctor interviewed on-camera said in his nine years of practice, he has never seen so many people affected by the “stinging limu” (Hawaiian word for seaweed).

Although the reaction can happen anywhere from minutes to hours of getting out of the water, the symptoms are usually the same. A burning irritant leaves beach-goers frustrated and tempted to scratch and rub away the itch. Experts blame a toxin that gets into the skin. It takes about five days to fully go away.

There have been reports of this type of reaction from Kaneohe to Waimanalo, as well as in Kahala and Koolina. My boyfriend used to be a lifeguard at Bellows Beach for several years and said that the limu usually comes around in the summer, when the water temperature is much warmer.

He suggested immediately washing the itchy areas with warm water and soap. Also, taking an antihistamine, like Benadryl does the trick; otherwise, see a doctor.


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