We don’t get jellyfish in Lanzarote very often, but occasionally, when there’s a particular swell or an unusual wind direction, we can get them, and they are usually localised to a particular part of the island, and disappear within a few days.
This week, March 2019, it’s the turn of Playa Blanca, and some 30 specimens of Portuguese men of war have been spotted around the coast of the resort, leading to the closure of the town beach.
The Emergency Services have published the following advice:
- Check flags at beaches, and if there are red flags, don’t bathe in the area.
- If you spot jellyfish, let the lifeguards know
- If you see them on shore, don’t touch them, they still sting even when dead
If you get stung, don’t pee on the sting!
There’s an old myth that you should pee on a jellyfish sting – don’t! Here’s what you should do:
- Don’t touch the area with your hands – you could then move stinger cells to other parts of your body, face or eyes
- Don’t scratch or run the affected area – that can fire off more stinger cells
- Wash the area thoroughly with sea water – using a bucket is ideal
- If possible relieve the pain with ice in a plastic bag, but don’t rub
- Keep the wounded area out of direct sunlight
The pain will subside in around 20 minutes, so hang in there. Once it has died down, apply some antiseptic cream, and keep doing so for a few days.
For the vast majority of people a sting will cause lots of pain for short time, and be forgotten about within a few hours. But for some, anaphylactic shock is a possibility, so keep an eye on them to make sure they are not suffering from dizziness, vomiting or breathing difficulties, in which case call 112 for an ambulance.
Finally, don’t stress about jellyfish here – they are really rare. I’ve swum in the oceans here many thousands of times over 20 years, and I’ve only ever been stung once.