Beach Safety

Jellyfish

In the summer (May – October), we have winds from the south that blow jellyfish in to south-facing beaches.  They typically are blue bubbles (man-of-wars) that can be seen and avoided, as they float on the surface.  The jellyfish don’t attack – you must swim into them to come in contact with them and they sting on contact.  The stingers extend down a few inches to as much as a foot underwater.  As the summer ocean gets to its warmest, we’ll also have semi-clear spaghetti-like strands of jellyfish floating in mid-water.  Some people are more affected by stings than others.  Don’t panic:  although painful, the sting is not dangerous and will slowly go away by itself over a period of time even without treatment.  We highly recommend always wearing a Lycra suit for sting protection.  You can purchase a good Lycra top at Sonoran Sports in San Carlos.  Sometimes they have full-body wetsuits on sale too.  In any case, the sooner you take care of the stings, the less affected you will be.  If you are stung by a jellyfish, the treatment is:

i)  get any remaining stinging cells off with a salt water wash

ii)  apply alcohol to kill the stinging cells

iii)  apply vinegar or another ammonia like Mr. Clean

iv)  apply Andantol cream to soothe the skin

Also, don’t hesitate to use ice packs on the affected areas.

stingraySting Ray

All beaches will have sting rays sleeping in the sandy shallow waters.  Although sting rays are very timid creatures and would normally never attack,  if you accidentally step on one, it will use it’s stinger to escape.  It is very easy to avoid a sting:  always shuffle your feet to wake up the sting rays so they can get our of your way, when walking in shallow water.  If you have fins on, swish them before stepping down on the sand.  If you are stung, immerse your foot or ankle in the hottest water you can stand for about 45 minutes.  That will reduce the pain from the poison as much as possible.  Seek medical attention for the puncture wound.

Sea Urchins

All rocky areas have sea urchins growing on them.  They are very easy to see and avoid.  They look like dark, living pin cushions.  Look before you put your hands down or step down on any rocks.  Don’t let the waves wash you up against the rocks.  The sea urchin spines are very sharp and can easily penetrate watershoes and gloves.  The spines are very strong lengthwise, but can break off easily sideways, part staying in your skin.  Although there is no poison associated with the spines, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention for puncture wounds.


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