Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Answer to a question from last week

Last week when I did A Wee Bit of Wednesday Sarah from Sunlight After Rain posted a comment and asked
"Wow! That must have sucked that you got a rash - how did that happen?" about this  "{eight} have you ever been stung by a jelly fish?"  "No, but I did get a nasty rash from their little spawn. It was brutal."

Here is the story.

We went to Cancun Mexico in April of 2003 and had a wonderful week long vacation with my entire family.  On the last day we spent our last day on the beach.  We weren't flying out until late in the afternoon so we decided to make the best of it and relax on the beach for one last day.   It was getting warm sitting in the sun so into the ocean I went.  When I got out of the water I was itchy between my bathing suit and my skin.  I figured that I had some sand in my suit so I headed back into the water to rinse off.  It was just as bad when I got out of the water again.  I didn't think very much more about it, and although it was a little uncomfortable I managed.  We had already checked out of our rooms and about an hour before we were to leave for the airport I had a shower, got dressed and we all got ready to leave the resort.  I was still a little itchy, but still didn't think much of it.  I think we were home for about 2 or 3 days when my torso broke out into a rash like you have never seen before.  Everywhere my bathing suit touched my skin was almost raw.  I went to the pharmacy to get cream and they weren't sure what it was, I went to the clinic and they prescribed cream and then we discovered that I had Sea Lice.  It sounds a whole lot worse but here is some information:

Jellyfish Larvae

The jellyfish larvae look like a finely grounded spec of pepper. This makes it almost invisible to the human eye. And when the unsuspecting swimmer passes through this invisible swarm they often end up with a nasty rash with the most awkward spots on their bodies where the bathing suits cling to their bodies. These almost invisible larvae get trapped between the bathing suit and the skin. The bathing suit acts like a net which traps the jellyfish larvae and the friction between the two activates the larvae's stinging mechanism. They are called the nematocysts like those of the jellyfish. The reaction starts 4-24 hours after being exposed.

The Thimble Jellyfish larvae are also known as Sea Lice or the Sea Bather's Eruption. They are generally residents of the lower Atlantic coast of Florida especially in the hot summer months.

How you will identify that you have been stung is that when still in the water you may experience a slight tingling sensation on the areas covered by the bathing suit. And then a nasty rash develops which can last for up to several weeks which will be the reaction of your body to the toxic injected by the nematocysts. Some may even experience nausea or fever as a result.

What you need to do when the rash starts showing is to apply diluted vinegar or alcohol on the skin after a shower. This may help to neutralize the remaining toxin from the body or the nematocysts. Hydrocortisone lotion and antihistamines may also help. But prevention is always better than cure. Best is to avoid swimming in the lower southeast coast of Florida during the early summer months especially in May and June and you have to pay special attention to the signs on the lifeguard towers on the warnings of sea lice in the water. Do not ignore them and if you really need to go for a swim in water that may have Jellyfish larvae, then wear little clothes as possible. Swimming naked if that is an option is the best thing to do. You can also use a sunscreen or thick Vaseline to prevent the nematocysts from stinging.

It is also extremely important that you remove the bathing suit as quickly as possible if you happen to go for a swim in water with sea lice jellyfish in it. More stings will occur as the fabric dries and the skin starts to rub against it. And do not shower with the bathing suit on; the fresh water will only cause the nematocysts to sting even more. After removing your bathing suit, its best that you have a shower under forceful water that way you can rinse off any of the larvae that could be still clinging on to your skin. The best way to wash your bathing suit to make sure that there are no larvae there is to wash it with salt water. Or it should be washed in hot soapy water and dried in a hot dryer. The severity of the sting of the Jellyfish Larvae will all depend on the person's immune system.

1 comment:

  1. That doesn't sound fun at all! But I am loving leaving a comment without word verification!! Glad I helped! New follower!