Whoa Nellie…Beware of The Jelly! How to Deal with Jellyfish (and Their Stings)

jellyfish-113386__340Country Boy Pest Control tries to focus on critters relevant to our services here in Polk County, which means we primarily write about critters you'd find in and around your yard, and the occasional rodent that might be a pest if they take up residence on your property. However, since our beautiful state of Florida is surrounded on 3 sides by water, and those waters are full of an entirely different world of creatures, we feel it's smart to warn our readers, whether local or not, about the dangers some of those animals can be.  This is especially important since summer is right around the corner and we know that people from all over will be flocking to our white sand beaches to soak up some sun and enjoy the waves, and could be putting themselves at risk for harm without even knowing it.

One of the most popular troublemakers along the coastline is the jellyfish.  While they might seem harmless, they can actually be quite dangerous.  While most of the various species don't cause life-threatening harm to those who aren't allergic, some types in other parts of the world can deliver a lethal sting, and any type of sting could be deadly to someone who has an unknown allergy.

So, what should you do if you encounter a jellyfish during your summer beach trip?

  • Avoid the tentacles at all costs.  The tentacles deliver a sting when they come in direct contact with your skin, so stay at a distance.  If you are wearing a wet suit, you will probably be ok since there is a barrier between your skin and the stingers, but it's still wise to give a jellyfish plenty of space.
  • Don't provoke them.  Jellyfish will usually leave you alone if you don't bother them, and they'll float on by with no issue.  If you spot a jelly while you're swimming or surfing, just swim carefully away, or at the very least, tread water and stay still until it passes.
    Don't touch dead jellyfish washed up on shore.  They are still capable of delivering a sting, so it's best to leave them alone.
  • If you are stung by a jellyfish, get out of the water quickly, and wash the entire area with warm saltwater.  Using a flat, hard object (a credit card works great!) scrape over the area gently to remove any remaining stingers, much like what you would do for a bee sting. Finally, apply antihistamine cream to the area, and cover with a bandage or gauze.  Closely monitor any changes in breathing, any swelling, etc. as they can signal an oncoming allergic reaction and should be taken very seriously.  Any of these symptoms mean you need to head to the hospital or call 911 ASAP.

While we can't rid the ocean of jellyfish before your vacation (and we wouldn't want to, because they are beautiful!), we hope these tips will help you feel more confident as you head into the water.  Have critters making you uncomfortable in your own home?  That we can take care of.  Give us a call for an on-site estimate for a custom pest-control plan.

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