First Day of Vacation

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Phill said I ought to blog this up, so blog it up I shall. I’ve been on vacation this week, and the vacationing began on an exciting note.

My brother and parents and I got in to Hilton Head Saturday night. This morning, we decided to do a little swimming. Dad and brother and I got out in the waves, swam around a bit, noting that the currents were pretty strong. My dad was telling me about an article he’d read about an extended jellyfish season due to the weather patterns this summer. Then, changing the subject, he remarked that the current was strong enough that you could probably swim in place against it. So, I tried that.

For about two seconds.

“Ow! Son of a–” It felt like I’d thrust my hand up to my elbow into a rosebush and jerked it out. “F#$@!”

My left arm stinging with pain, I headed for shore. My mom and I decided to head back to the house and check WebMD for the best first aid for jellyfish stings. We left my dad and brother, and back at the house, my mom gave me a bag of ice for my arm while I leeched off the neighbors’ internet connection to do some jellyfish research.

So, I’m reading to myself: “‘Soak or rinse the area in vinegar…If you do not have vinegar available, rinse in sea water…’ Huh. ‘Fresh water will cause the nematocysts to continue to release their toxin. For the same reason, do not rub the area, apply ice or hot water.‘”

I ditched the bag of ice posthaste.

My mom and I went back to the water to soak my arm in the shallows for a bit. It worked like a charm, and in less than half an hour the stinging had subsided. Most of the red stinging marks on my arm were gone in two days.

So, for your utility and convenience, I present Jackson’s Secret Jellyfish Safety Tips from the Internet:

  • Box jellyfish have highly toxic stings and are super-bad news. Get medical help if you are stung by a box jellyfish. Wikipedia can tell you what a box jellyfish is.
  • Whatever the jellyfish, rinse the stung area with vinegar. The acetic acid in the vinegar will neutralize the nematocysts–the stinging cells in the jellyfish’s tentacles. If you don’t have any vinegar handy, 70% isopropyl alcohol or sea water will do.
  • Don’t rinse the area with fresh water. This will just make the unfired cells release their toxin. Likewise, don’t ice the wound, and don’t use hot water.
  • You can remove tentacles from the wound with a pair of tweezers, a stick, or rubber gloves.
  • You might think that the uric acid content in pee might make it a fine substitute for vinegar, or maybe you’ve just seen that one episode of Friends. Not so! Urine also causes unfired nematocysts to discharge. Don’t pee on the sting.
  • Firefox, by default, does not recognize “nematocysts” as a real word and will suggest that you replace it with “cinematography.” What the heck, Firefox?

If you would like more information, you can visit the same pages that I did:

Safe swimming, y’all. Jackson out.

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One Response to “First Day of Vacation”

  1. Zel Kuroi Says:

    Jackson, you own so much face. I’m glad you survived your adventure! Thanks for the helpful advice!

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