Jellyfish Stings: What To Do and How to Avoid Them

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Jellyfish swimming off the coastThe dreaded “J” word! Although our beaches here on the Costa del Sol are generally safe for swimming, we sometimes receive visits from unwelcome visitors: Jellyfish.

Under certain conditions, usually after heavy easterly winds and when the sea temperature is warmer than average, these slippery creatures head towards the shoreline and cause havoc amongst swimmers. They aren’t particularly dangerous; however, their sting can be painful and causes discomfort for their unfortunate victim.  They are usually difficult to spot in the water and bathers get stung by coming into contact with the jellyfish’s tentacles.

Common Symptoms

Jellyfish stings have various common symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Burning Sensation
  • Swelling and redness
  • Bleeding

Symptoms usually remit after a few hours; however, in come cases, if a patient is allergic to the sting or suffers other illnesses, symptoms can be more severe and medical treatment may be necessary.

What to do if you get stung by a Jellyfish

If you get stung by a jellyfish, you are going to know about it! Here are a few things you need to keep in mind after being stung:

  • Clean the area affected by the sting
  • Never use regular water (this could break the stinging cells and cause another sting)
  • Use physiological saline solution (which you can buy in any chemist) or sea water to clean the area affected by the sting
  • Apply cold over the sting; make sure you don’t apply ice directly on the injury, rap it up in a cloth or towel. Do this for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove any remains of a jellyfish tentacle on skin; make sure you don’t use your bare hands. Use gloves or tweezers.
  • It is standard procedure to apply some form of antihistamine; we recommend you go to the chemist or our hotel doctor and explain what has happened so that they can subscribe adequate treatment.
  • If the pain is very severe or the victim’s state worsens, go to the nearest medical centre as soon as possible.
  • Do not rub the sting with a towel or with sand; this will just make the injury worse.
Jellyfish warning Flag

Flag warning of Jellyfish in the water

Prevention

1)      Look out for flags like the one in the image above. If the life guards have put this flag up it means that there are jellyfish in the water and there is a risk of getting stung.

2)      Jellyfish will often get washed up on the shore; make sure you don’t touch them and be careful with kids as their inquisitiveness means they are prone to being stung when playing on the shore.

3)      There is a special cream which acts as protection against sunburn and jellyfish stings. Apparently it includes a plankton extract that acts on 4 different levels to avoid triggering the jellyfish’s stinging mechanism with the following results:

  • Causes jellyfish tentacles to slip over your skin
  • It confuses the sensors in the stinging cells; this leads them to believe they are touching another jellyfish
  • Blocks communication between the sensors and the cell body
  • Releases inhibitors which prevent the unleashing of stinging darts.

The cream is available for children and for adults and should be available at local chemists. (I’d love to know if it actually works… let us know if you’ve tried it and whether it was effective by posting in the comments below)

Well, you are now equipped to deal with these annoying creatures which can potentially ruin a pleasant afternoon on the beach. Luckily these jellyfish rarely appear, but at least you’ll know what to do if you do happen to come across them on your travels!

Incidently, if you are planning to visit the Costa del Solor Benalmadena, and still haven’t made up your mind about where to stay, make sure you check out our rates and availability at www.sunsetbeachclub.com, we’ll do our best to ensure you have a great jellyfish-free holiday! ;-)

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