Last Thursday, May 1, my family and I went on a day trip to La Luz Beach Resort in Laiya, Batangas. Though the trip was really fun, something unfortunate happened to me in the afternoon—and the effects only took place the next day.
Batangas is known for its many beaches, but another thing it is known for is the many jellyfishes that lurk around at this time of the year. One example would be what happened to Anne Curtis.
At around 4pm, I was walking around in thigh-deep waters (this was really near the shore), when I felt a sting on my right thigh. At first, it wasn’t so bad but then just seconds later, I felt a burning sensation so I quickly got out of the water and sat on the shore. My first instinct was to rub sand all over the area, because it was burning and itching at the same time. There were no red marks, and after a few minutes, the burning sensation lessened. It was still itching every now and then, which I tried my best not to scratch.
I continued to swim right after, and ignored it. When I got home later that evening and took a bath, there were really light red marks on my thigh which I didn’t think was that serious. So I went to sleep. At 2 in the morning, my thigh started burning again, but since I was too sleepy to really pay attention to it, I just lifted my pajamas and let the wound breathe.
The next day, Friday, I even got up and went to work. By this time, I felt a slight discomfort on my neck and throat—but I assumed it was just from riding the Flying Fish the previous day, because I fell off and hit my neck pretty bad against the waves. On my way to a meeting in Alabang at around 10:30am, I felt my throat get worse and my breathing got a little bit difficult. I blamed this on the summer heat, and assumed it was just my asthma kicking in. Since I’m sort of used to this kind of feeling, I ignored it still.
The swelling of my throat got worse as the day passed, and it was only at around 6pm when I published a photo on my timeline of the jellyfish sting (which by then was bright red) that my friends and Tito advised me to head to the Emergency Room and get an antihistamine shot.
The Cupcake, who was really on his way to fetch me, immediately brought me to the Emergency Room of St. Luke’s Global City. After getting my vital signs, they gave me three shots, two of which were injected via an IV. I was sooo sleepy after. The shots were to help with the itchiness and the swelling of the jellyfish sting, and the swelling of my throat.
The next day, I went to see my dermatologist, who prescribed me with medications to get rid of the remaining toxins, prevent any respiratory attacks from happening, and help prevent scarring (jellyfish stings turn into really dark scars that take a long time to fade). She also educated me more about jellyfishes.
She thinks that what stung me was most likely just a graze of the jellyfish’s tentacle. And I’m really, really lucky. If it was the entire jellyfish that stung me on purpose, I could have had a respiratory attack then and there. The venom of a jellyfish contains neurotoxins that paralyze the nerves that control our breathing. This was the reason my throat got swollen, and I had difficulty breathing. It took a while for the effects to take place because the toxins had to travel from my thigh to my nerves. This makes me realize I shouldn’t have waited as long as I did.
My dermatologist advised that it’s always better to be preventive. So when you’re off to the beach, always remember to bring an antihistamine tablet or steroids. Here are more tips to care for a jellyfish sting immediately after you’ve been stung:
- Once stung, calmly get out of the water.
- Don’t let anyone touch the sting, because chances are there are still active toxins left that can harm them.
- Immediately pour vinegar, baking soda, or steak sauce (according to my dermatologist) to the affected area. DON’T POUR ALCOHOL. Alcohol makes the body absorb the toxins faster.
- There is no scientific proof that backs up the statement that peeing on the area will cure it.
- If there’s really no vinegar, baking soda, or steak sauce available, you can use saltwater to clean the area.
- Take an antihistamine tablet, just to minimize the swelling and itchiness.
- Don’t wait like I did! Go to the Emergency Room as soon as possible, so that you can be treated properly.
Right now, I’m advised to rest and I’ll be under medication for ten days. I’m also not allowed to eat eggs, chicken, seafood, chocolates, nuts, citrus fruits and drinks, and anything that has preservatives. I’m discouraged from wearing pants, since the toxins are still present and wearing pants might make my body absorb it more. I can’t play ultimate for a few days as well.
It’s really a lesson learned, and I’m lucky what happened to me isn’t so bad. Hopefully this article helped shed some light on you guys as well, especially since it’s the summer season and everyone is off to the beach.
How To Care For A Jellyfish Sting