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The jellyfish season in Israel

Depositphotos_214102746_l-2015

The warm Mediterranean Sea on Israel’s coast may be fun to swim in, but the jellyfish season is upon us!  Every summer, Israeli beaches suffer from jellyfish for a number of weeks.  Whether in the water or washed up ashore, jellyfish pose a (potentially life-threatening) hazard.  EMA Care gives you tips on what to do if you get stung by a floating cell or jellyfish tentacle.

Fact: Jellyfish is one of the most intimidating creatures of the sea. In Hebrew, the word for jellyfish is “Medusa”. In classic Greek mythology, Medusa is a monster (gorgon) in the form of a woman with snakes for hair.  Several species of jellyfish affect the Israeli coastline. The sting from a jellyfish comes from neurotoxins on its tentacles. 

If you do get stung by a jellyfish, there will be a distinct red mark and pain, and oftentimes parts of the tentacles will be stuck on your skin.  Symptoms vary from person to person and may include:

  • Mild: Burning sensation on skin (usually a sign that you have been stung by tiny floating cells)
  • Moderate: A clearly marked area that is swollen, red, itchy, and painful
  • Severe: nausea, headaches, dizziness, cramps, weakness, neck swelling, purple/blue discoloration of the sting site, and difficulty breathing

 

If you suspect that you have been stung by a jellyfish, DO:

  • Remove particles of tentacles with a stick or plastic bag (so you do not touch the tentacles with your hand).
  • For mild to moderate stings - seek First Aid help immediately at the lifeguard or first aid station!! The lifeguard will have vinegar or fresh lemon juice to spray on the affected area, which will neutralize the neurotoxins. The sooner the rash is treated with vinegar the less painful it will be. If vinegar is unavailable - seawater can be used to cleanse the area (but only seawater that does not have floating cells in it!).
  • The Ministry of Health recommends that after treatment with vinegar or fresh lemon juice, you can apply a paste made of baking powder or talc mixed with seawater to the affected areas. It can be gently peeled off when dry without rubbing the area.

 

For all severe or life-threatening reactions, especially in young children or the elderly, immediately call an ambulance at 101 from any phone.  THEN spray with vinegar.

Do NOT:

1. Remove tentacles with your bare hands/ skin

2. Use fresh water for cleansing the sting, this will exacerbate the toxins, causing increased symptoms and spread the toxin

2. Rub the area unless you are wearing gloves (and only after the treatment described above)

3. Touch jellyfish tentacles even when lying dead in the sand

The best defense against the jellyfish sting is to stay out of the water when you see jellyfish in the sand and/or the water. 

We at EMA Care wish you a sting-free summer in Israel!

EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and patient advocacy services to tourists, students, and residents of Israel. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

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