Summer is here. Which means the east winds blow in some nasty lil critters into the line-up....and we ain't talking about the kooks, the Vaalies or the paddleskiers. Nup, we talking the tiny terrors of the floating kind. Jellyfish & bluebottles.
These ou's sting the crap outta you cos they have cells called nematocysts which are found in the long tentacles that trail behind em. These lil critters screw up your sesh by injecting a protein-based venom into your unsuspecting flesh, which can have varying reactions - none of them good. Firstly it stings like sh*te, but if your luck is really kak – then you also get a nasty allergic reaction which probably isn’t the funnest thing to experience.
Rule number one is to try avoid getting stung in the first place, duh. It’ll help if you wear a rashie or a T-shirt as it means there’s less open skin area for the terror tentacles to stick to.
Plan B – what to do if you do get stung. First off try rinse the tentacles off you using hot water. How hot? They reckon it has to be over 50C to work, that’s about as hot as you can bear. Don’t go burn yourself now, that’d be a double fail. Anyhow, chances of finding hot water at the beach? Bogger all. So let’s scratch that piece of advice then!
So, no hot water. Well then rinse em off using salt water, cos fresh water might actually make the stinging worse. And no, don’t piss on it either! The old wives tale about urine don’t fly, it just isn’t acidic enough.
Plain white distilled vinegar like you would find in your kitchen has long been the standard first aid treatment for jellyfish stings. Its use has become a bit iffy in the last few years and several studies leave us questioning whether vinegar really works. Again, chances of finding vinegar at the beach are also bogger all, unless you get stung at Denvils or Hummies. Then you can hop over the road to the fish n chip shop next to Surf Centre – they’ll have vinegar, and you can score some chow at the same time.
Just make sure when you rinse that you get those tentacles off. Peel the bastards off, but now use your kop and don’t just yank em with your fingers – duh, you’ll sting those as well. Grab a stick, a shell, use a T shirt over your hand, whatever. Just get those things off else they’ll keep pumping poison into you.
Keep an eye out for anaphylaxis. Ana – what?? Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can result in hectic itching, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightening of the throat, flushed skin, weakness or dizziness. And if things get real bad you go into shock.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms make sure a mate gets you to the doc asap. There’s a medical practice up 8th avenue, just opposite the exit from the Summerstrand Village car park. Otherwise if you’re just stinging like hell, pop to the pharmacy and grab some anti-inflamm’s and then stick some ice on it.
Moral of the story – don’t get stung, it sucks…well, it stings!