bump- originally posted by Cunspin Feb 07, 2006,
Since May is an active season for 'sea lice' and I found this very helpful I thought I'd post again..
INFORMATION from--Universidad Nacional Autonoma De Mexico
What is the Thimble Jellyfish?
This marine animal is a small jellyfish resembling a thimble that measures about 1" in diameter and is conspicuosly mottled with dark brown markings. This Jellyfish, together with corals, seaanemones, hydeoids and hydras are included in a group of animals without skeletons named cnidarians. One characteristic of this important group is that they have numerous stinging cells called nematocystswhich act as microscopic syringes to inject toxins when touched.
Along the Mexican Caribbean coast dense aggregations of the THIMBLE JELLYFISH appear everyyear from late January to early June. The Jellyfish occur in 3 swimmming stages as juveniles or ephrae, as adults and as larvae or planulae. They are transported by winds and currents to other areas on the time scale of a few hours to a few days.
WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR A WARNING ON THE THIMBLE JELLYFISH?
Accidental contact with this jellyfish causes a skinrash known as seabathers eruption.
This dermatites is characterized by the acute appearance of small itchy erythmas that may, in some cases, evolve into pustules. This eruption occures predominantly on body areas that are covered by the bathing suit or subjected to pressure or rubbing, such as armpits, neck, groinand inner thighs.In some cases the dermatites includes chills, fever nausea, headache and weakness, particularly in children. Symptoms don not appear untill hours (1 to 24) after leaving the water.Because of this , Seabathers eruption is sometimes confused with viral gastroenterites or varicella (chicken pox). The lesions usually persist from a few days to weeks, after wich they spontaneously heal.
SOME PREVENTATIVE MEASURES.
Perons with histories of allergies should avoid swimming in waters infested with Thimble Jellyfish. Swimmers who must risk exposure should avoid the use of T'shirts as they trap the thimble Jellyfish between skin and clothing thus increasing the severity of the reaction. After exposure to seawater, swimmers SHOULD NOT SHOWER WITH FRESH WATER. Fresh water triggers the stinging cells. It is advisable to change out of bathing suit as soon as possible and apply vinegar wich neitralizes the nematocysts that cling to the skin but have not yet released their toxins. Bathing suits should be thouroghly washed with detergent as symptoms may recur if contaminated suits that were poorly washed are re-worn.
Is there Treatment?
When the lesions are minimal the application of creams and lotions to reduce the rash is recommended . The use of antihystamines is often helpful but should not be done without consulting a Physician. In severe cases topical and systemic steroids may be used but always under Medical supervision. IMORTANT,
DO NOT SCRATCH the affected areas because this can lead to skin infections.