JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Larvae

Jellyfish Larvae picture

Jellyfish Larvae

The jellyfish larvae look like a finely grounded speck of pepper. This makes it almost invisible to the human eye. And when the unsuspecting swimmer passes through this invisible swarm they often end up with a nasty rash with the most awkward spots on their bodies where the bathing suits cling to their bodies. These almost invisible larvae get trapped between the bathing suit and the skin. The bathing suit acts like a net which traps the jellyfish larvae and the friction between the two activates the larvae's stinging mechanism. They are called the nematocysts like those of the jellyfish. The reaction starts 4-24 hours after being exposed.

The Thimble Jellyfish larvae are also known as Sea Lice or the Sea Bather's Eruption. They are generally residents of the lower Atlantic coast of Florida especially in the hot summer months.

How you will identify that you have been stung is that when still in the water you may experience a slight tingling sensation on the areas covered by the bathing suit. And then a nasty rash develops which can last for up to several weeks which will be the reaction of your body to the toxic injected by the nematocysts. Some may even experience nausea or fever as a result.

What you need to do when the rash starts showing is to apply diluted vinegar or alcohol on the skin after a shower. This may help to neutralize the remaining toxin from the body or the nematocysts. Hydrocortisone lotion and antihistamines may also help. But prevention is always better than cure. Best is to avoid swimming in the lower southeast coast of Florida during the early summer months especially in May and June and you have to pay special attention to the signs on the lifeguard towers on the warnings of sea lice in the water. Do not ignore them and if you really need to go for a swim in water that may have Jellyfish larvae, then wear little clothes as possible. Swimming naked if that is an option is the best thing to do. You can also use a sunscreen or thick Vaseline to prevent the nematocysts from stinging.

It is also extremely important that you remove the bathing suit as quickly as possible if you happen to go for a swim in water with sea lice jellyfish in it. More stings will occur as the fabric dries and the skin starts to rub against it. And do not shower with the bathing suit on; the fresh water will only cause the nematocysts to sting even more. After removing your bathing suit, its best that you have a shower under forceful water that way you can rinse off any of the larvae that could be still clinging on to your skin. The best way to wash your bathing suit to make sure that there are no larvae there is to wash it with salt water. Or it should be washed in hot soapy water and dried in a hot dryer. The severity of the sting of the Jellyfish Larvae will all depend on the person's immune system.

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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