Monday 1 June, 2020

Warning! Swimmers falling victim to jellyfish stings and sea itch

There have been several reports of stinging, predominantly from the Seven Mile Beach area.

According to Dr Denise Osterloh, "with the changing wind and people back in the water," members of the community have fallen victim to jellyfish and sea itch. 

These jellyfish are likely to be sea wasps, typically found off the coastal waters of Florida and the Bahamas and in Cayman waters during certain weather conditions.

According to Dr Osterloh, "if you get stung, get out of the sea and don’t put fresh water on it first; this will cause the little nematocysts (stinging cells) to burst and this releases more toxin and will make matters worse. Carry some vinegar to the beach and douse yourself with this first on the area where you are stung. Go home and take a hot shower/ bath with vinegar and it will help."

Dr Osterloh has also provided the following hacks for those suffering from jellyfish stings or sea itch. 

1. According to Dr Osterloh, "heat helps denature the proteins in the toxins and gives relief." Turn on a blow dryer at an elevated setting- TIP LAST- close to the affected area for a few seconds at a time while being very careful to not get burned. BE CAREFUL WITH THE HEAT PLEASE.

2. "Shave" the area either with a razor, a knife or a driver's licence/ credit card.

3. Dr Osterloh stresses, don’t wash with fresh water initially. The best thing to do is to douse with vinegar. When at home, rinse with hot water with vinegar for as long as possible.

4. Steroid creams and antihistamines can also provide relief.

5. To address pain/ muscle spasm and aches, Dr Osterloh advises to "use a painkiller such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, or something stronger." 

6. If none of these methods help or if there are any issues such as difficulty breathing or other concerns- contact a medical professional or seek medical assistance IMMEDIATELY.

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