Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jellyfish Stings

Well, Saturday they finally got me.  I've swam many miles in this body of water over the past 5 years and nothing.  I've put my hands through them while swimming, and...nothing.  This time, I fall off the board and I'm in the water for maybe 10 seconds and bam, they light me up.  Some might say "well, he had it comin'" and they're probably right.  As of today though, I'm paid in full.

They got me on the lower back, left arm and left chest.  Funny thing is, I didn't realize I was stung.  While driving home, my back really started to itch.  I figured I just scraped it on my board or paddle when I fell.  Sunday night, I'm a little worried because I still don't know what's wrong: my skin hurts, my muscles hurt and I'm having stomach cramps.  Monday night, I realized I had been victimized by a gang of gelatinous fauna.

I spent some time last night reading about how to treat the stings.  Here are the steps for treating a jellyfish sting:

  1. Get out of the water (goes without saying).
  2. Flush the area with sea water (fresh water can activate the nematocysts).
  3. Scrape off tentacles if they are attached to the skin (they can continue to sting even after the tentacle tears away from the jellyfish) with a stick, shell or anything other than a bare hand.
  4. At any sign of anaphylaxis, call 911.
  5. Apply vinegar to the wound (not everyone agrees that this is effective).
  6. Some people recommend applying shaving cream to the area and removing it with a credit card to scrape off the barbs.
  7. Ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling.  Anti-itch ointment to the wound provides some relief.
  8. If stung repeatedly on the body, on the eyes, or if having a reaction, seek medical care.

Here's a picture of my lower back Monday night.

EDIT:  A sincere apology to all jellyfish.  Turns out, it was Shingles!  Awful stuff.  Talk to your doctor about the getting shot so you don't have to suffer through this.


  1. Your story is eerily similar to mine. I was fishing and a few days later I had similar blisters and painful skin. I though it was a jelly fish (I had seen many that day). Then I thought it was shingles. Since then I have come back to it being jelly fish.
    They got me on the right hand as I was pulling up the anchor rope.

    The symptoms are exactly like shingles.

  2. Well, mine turned out to be a severe case of Shingles. This picture is NOTHING compared to way it looked a few days later. Horrible.