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Lifeguard/EMT ocean safety PSA.

Go ahead and "bother" the lifeguard, they're there to help you out! For the most part, peeing on stings isn't going to do much, but if you are by yourself and are a ways from prompt medical attention, here are some things you can do.

Regarding jelly fish: go back into the water, brush off (don't rub) the affected area. Provided that this isn't a box/man of war jellyfish, you'll probably be fine. You can use vinegar to rinse or soak the area but I find that most people don't need to. In my experience, rinsing with fresh water tends to sting more than using salt water. Many people find that soaking in hot water helps as well. For the most part, removing the tentacles/stinging cells should be enough to silence most of the pain.

Regarding sea urchins: You're supposed to soak the area in warm water and then remove the spines with disinfected tweezers. I tend to just pull them out myself and check the area daily for infection. If the spines are particularly deep, the affected area still hurts after a week, or is infected (red/hot to the touch/looks really gross/you get a fever), go see a doctor.

Regarding sting rays: Put the affected area in as hot of water the person can tolerate (the hotter the better) and then, if the stinger is still there, use disinfected tweezers to remove the stinger. Apply pressure to stop any bleeding. Sting ray stings hurt like crazy but are, generally (if on the hand or foot), not as serious as they feel.

Most beach injuries are caused by a lack of knowledge and an excess of confidence. Stings and bites are usually the least of your beach injury worries. You're way more likely to be injured by another person or by yourself at the beach than by an animal.

Check-in with the lifeguard about conditions (currents, reefs, sandbars, animals, etc), educate yourself regarding beach safety, and know your physical limits when it comes to ocean swimming.

Note: these tips are for non-serious stings. If you or anyone you know is stung and begins to have trouble breathing or is severely bleeding, please get emergency medical attention immediately.

wahini Citation

submitted by: Admin

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