Jellyfish are becoming more common on our coasts. The rise in water temperature, the waste spilt to the sea that serves as nutrients, the lack of rain and the disappearance of natural predators such as turtles, tuna or whales facilitate the proliferation of this species. In case of a sting, and before going to the dermatologist, it is advisable to know the necessary first aid.
There are many cases of bathers who suffer this uncomfortable, although rarely dangerous, sting. Therefore, in recent years initiatives have been taken in coastal municipalities such as the capture of jellyfish on the beaches by fishing boats and even mobile phone applications that warn you in advance of the presence of banks of these animals. Surprising was also the news of a few days ago in which the FAO, the United Nations Organization for Agriculture, recommended the consumption of jellyfish in the human diet to prevent its proliferation.
The first advice regarding jellyfish bites is, of course, to avoid them. Pay attention to the recommendations made from the Red Cross or from the town councils regarding bathing in certain beaches and, of course, do not try to catch them either in the water or in the sand. The use of the increasingly popular “anti-jellyfish” creams can also help to prevent the bite of this invertebrate.
If the sting has already occurred the most characteristic symptoms will be a strong pain and itching. The area that has been in contact with the tentacle will become inflamed and redden and there may even be a slight bleeding. People who are allergic to the jellyfish or that suffer some disease that could be aggravated by the bite must pay special attention. In these cases, the most advisable is the rapid transfer of the affected person to the nearest hospital or health center.
•What would be the first aid before the sting of a jellyfish? •The first thing would be to clean the area affected by the bite. The ideal would be to use saline, but if not available, salt water would also be a good solution. Do not use fresh water, as it could aggravate the bite. • Remove, if any, any remaining tentacle attached to the skin. For this, we will always use tweezers, not our hands. Using vinegar can help it break off more easily from the skin. •It is strongly advised not to rub the area with sand, towels, etc. Also, the use of urine to clean the area is harmful, despite the popular belief of the contrary. •Apply cold in the area for about fifteen minutes. Avoid placing the ice directly on the skin, as it could burn it, and do so with a cloth or similar. •Apply an ointment, with antihistamine or corticosteroids, to help reduce inflammation. •The intense pain will last between 30 and 60 minutes, although it can persist for a few hours. In case this does not diminish, it is advisable to go to a health centre before the risk of an anaphylactic shock, especially in people with whom it is necessary to take special care such as babies, elderly people or pregnant women. The discomfort and injuries do not usually last more than three days.