Let's talk about that dreaded animal that all midwesterners fear and know of. The jellyfish.
I think it's so high on everyone's list because EVERYONE knows about them. Swimmers, little children, old people, etc. And everyone knows someone who got stung by one on a vacation.
So my very first experience with jellyfish happened when I was NOT swimming or scuba diving. I was, well, trying to relieve myself. Here's the whole story.
We were in Jamaica, staying at an all inclusive, which among other things that they tell you are included, a nightly drunkeness is included. We were walking on the beach, far from the hotel and really anyone. Of course, I had to go to the bathroom.
Being kinda a country girl and used to going into the river on float trips, I waded out into the ocean just over knee high. Hubby followed to relieve himself too.
No problems. Until we got back to the shore and headed off walking again.
We both felt like our legs were on fire. We hadn't seen a thing. I itched so bad and nothing would relieve it. I rubbed sand on my legs to get it scratched really well. (Realize we had no idea why we were itching so bad - we suspected sand fleas or something like that) Nothing worked.
The next morning we talked to the dive shop guys about it and they laughed (of course). They explained that it was more than likely we had been in a group of tiny baby jellyfish, which are attracted to the shore lights at night. We should NOT have rubbed sand on our legs, as that probably just made it worse.
So the best bet for jellyfish that they suggested? Douse the area in fresh cool water. And of course if you don't have that, try rum. It seems rum is a cure all in Jamaica. Cure's a hangover, cure's an ailment, and I'll bet if you had enough it would cure a broken arm - or at least make you forget you had one :))
Another night (different vacation) we went on a night dive. We had extremely strict instructions to not turn our lights on within 15 feet of the surface (we didn't need to anyway because it was so bright out). They explained that we would attract jellyfish when we surfaced. They also explained that the boat lights would attract jellyfish too, so we needed to be on the lookout as we surfaced.
This, folks, is one of the best reasons to always wear a full wetsuit, or at least a dive skin, even in warm water. It just saves your skin.
Anyway, of course someone, despite the warnings, ended up getting stung by a jellyfish as we were waiting to get back onto the boat after the dive. The person followed all the directions. Even had on a full dive suit. But didn't really pay attention when surfacing and ended up getting stung on the neck and face.
It turned red and blotchy but they were fine the next day.
Another hint I read about said to apply meat tenderizer to the stung area. I don't know if this actually works but I do take some with us every time we visit the ocean. (Yeah right, like there won't be any rum around!)