Let me back up. I got stung by a jellyfish/man o' war on the second day (Sunday) I was on vacation. Here's the play-by-play: Hit up the beach around 4:00pm to some Massive waves, and Rach, Family, and myself went bodyboarding on the waves. It was a blast! We started feeling weird little "tingles" on our legs, but thought nothing of it. We had been riding the waves for a good 45 minutes, and then I got caught. I was swimming towards the beach, getting pushed by a good sized wave, and got a VERY intense pain in my Right leg and Left arm. It felt like I got hit with a bull whip, and then immediately felt like I got tasered. Brutal. I got out of the water as fast as I could, trying not to make too much of a scene, and then the pain set in.
I couldn't stop from shaking. The pain was absolutely excruciating. Once I got to our umbrella, I picked off a tentacle on my arm, and slipped out of my swimming suit. Yeah, in front of half of my girlfriend's family. Luckily I was somewhat shielded by a towel. We got some vinegar spray from a lifeguard, who said to just spray the stings down. Apparently, I was the 29th sting that day. Eventually, we just went back to the beach house and took it easy the rest of the day.
|Left arm right after the stings. It is now a much darker, there were tentacles everywhere!|
|The painful spot, right on the back of the leg! PS I don't shave for tri's|
Skip to yesterday. I woke up, and noticed some more "bumps" from the stings, and noticed they were feeling a bit itchy. The "little" itchiness has progressed to full blown, insanely constant itching that is making me crazy. Today at my clinical was brutal, trying to focus when all I could do is think about how itchy my arm and leg felt. AHHH!!! Unfortunately, I think I'm doing all I can to help the itchiness. I'm taking some benadryl, and using some cortisone creme to no avail. I'm going to wait it out a bit before going to the Doc, as I have eye surgery on Thursday and don't want to be in a Doc's office all week (yeah, eye surgery....). I also have gotten some wonderful advice via twitter (I'm not peeing on my arm, but drinking vodka would help in theory).
After researching the stings, I figured I'd post what I found, as far as prevention goes, for the stings. Thankfully, all of my OWS are in lakes in Kansas, so I won't have to worry about these guys much!
- If possible, try not to swim downstream of the current. If the waves are big and the wind is blowing, there may be more jellyfish along the coast.
- Wear a wetsuit/dive suit! Perfect for the triathlete! Even though stings are still possible, this extra layer will prevent most of the incidental contact that occurs through most stings. But be careful removing the suit!
- ALWAYS take some vinegar to the beach if you plan on swimming! I was lucky the lifeguard had some because I didn't... The vinegar neutralizes the venom located in the tentacles. Although it may burn at first, it will prevent more toxin from being released.
- Don't pee on yourself... or have someone pee on you. Although better than nothing, it still might not be an effective treatment. Save yourself some embarrassment and go rinse yourself in SALT water, not fresh.
- Avoid freshwater or showering immediately following a sting, as it could lead to more venom being released into your body.
- Rinse your sting in vinegar! OR cover with YELLOW MUSTARD! Another use!!!! The acidity in these products neutralizes the neurotoxin in the tentacles.
- After rinsing with vinegar, shave the area with a razor. This will take the remaining barbs off your skin.
- If you are experiencing shortness of breath, an increased heart rate, or had a tentacle touch your face or mouth, go to da hospital... don't wait.
- Be prepared from the itchiness! I have had poison ivy on several different occasions, and this doesn't even compare. So much worse...
All in all, it sucked, but I was glad it happened to me and not Rach's little cousins. Luckily it happened to the toughest guy on the beach... Pssh I didn't even cry. No biggie. Triathlons have made me a man... And in retrospect, at least it wasn't a shark bite, after all Shark Week had just ended....
Thanks for reading, and careful out there...