Posted By: ragsaye

PicaPica - 04/27/01 12:32 AM

We just returned from AC and a few of us have a "rash" really more like bites that we got from diving/snorkeling. We were told the jellyfish were spawning and it was from the larva in the water. A friend suggested we put oil (or vaseline) on even under our suits..we did but still got some bites..MY question is has anyone heard of this..what is it really..They itch and spread especially if you scratch..
Posted By: Sandshaker

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 12:47 AM

I've been told by more than one local dive masters that pica pica is some form of plankton that inhabits the water from around April till June.

It seems to be in certain not everytime you go diving will you get it.

Any exposed body part is fair game for pica pica.

The cure?
They suggest to take hot hot as you can stand it....and a wash cloth and hold the cloth over the bites. This forces the critter out of your skin.

Using Windex on it...(it's the ammonia in it)....will also work.

Easier said than done....Don't Scratch!
Try some Hydrocortisone cream or Benadryl cream for the itch.

I have been fortunate so far....never been bit.

Hope this helps...let me know if you try one of these remedies and they work.
I'm interested.

Thanks! [Linked Image]
Posted By: Mary and Scott

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 01:57 AM that you mention it,when we were there last fall,we got what we thought were bug bites, but not your typical misquito bites. Mostly on our arms/legs, they were small red bumps that itched horribly. Took about a week to go away.We did not dive or snorkel, but we did a lot of swimming in the ocean.
Posted By: Gaz Cooper

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 02:22 AM

Hi guys

Pica Pica and the effects are actually caused by the offspring of the thimble jellyfish which appear in the millions around this time of year.

many people think that the thimble jellyfish is the actual culprit of the stinging however Adult thimble jellyfish do not cause any sting, however this time of year the thimble jellyfish are doing the wild thing and there offspring which are microscopic are the real culprits of the rashs and stings.

People think that by wearing a wetsuit will protect the wearer however because the offspring are very very small when the wetsuit fills up with water the critters are in the water and still sting.

So how do we battle these little monsters.

Normal areas affected are the under arm area stomach under the chin and neck area.

vaseline is very good as it forms a protective layer over the skin however be careful not to use Petroleum vaseline if you are using a a silicone mask as it will dinitigrate the silicone so only use non petroleum vaseline.

that is a preventative measure but what if you have already been stung.

A vinigar solution is best to nutrelize the stinging cells and just apply to sensative areas immediately after getting out of the water.

then apply a good antihistamine cream to the area to stop the itching.

Hope this has helped

All the best

Gaz Cooper
Gaz Cooper's Dive Belize
Posted By: Gaz Cooper

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 02:27 AM

Oh yeah

DO NOT SCRATCH OR RUB THE AFFECTED AREA as this will activate more of the stinging cells and will spread the stings.

Use the vinigar solution Immediately after and that should stop the spreading
Posted By: seashell

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 02:44 AM

There is a new product that was developed by an Israeli company named Nidaria and the product has been successfully combined with sunscreen. It is available for purchase and it's called Safe Sea (Jellyfish & Sea Lice Safe Sun Block). Actually you can buy it with or without sunscreen.
Posted By: seashell

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 02:49 AM

Mary and Scott, those little red bumps were most likely sandflea bites. Itch like a son of a gun, don't they? Putting lots of greasy Deep Woods Off on my feet and around my ankles really helped. I also used the Deep Woods on my arms and neck, etc. but not so heavily applied. I didn't suffer near as much as my friend who was using a citronella product. (I was also taking a B complex vitamin. Some other people on the board have suggested that taking Vitamin B can repel mosquitos and sandfleas. I don't know if that is true or not and that is not why I was taking it anyway. Regardless, I had significantly fewer bites than did my friend)
Posted By: B_b_f_b

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 03:36 PM

If it was something that bit you it might be that pica pica stuff, it not, it could be something I catch frequently in Jamaica called Sea Scratch. When in Jamaica after a rain you tended to see a lot of sea grass in the water and for some reason or the other it left this residue that caused a reaction in my body. Don't laugh, but I was told to poor rum all over my body. I figured what the hell, if it didn't work I could drink it, well it did (I also think straight rubbing alcohol could work). The end result was that it did go away but scratching it made it worse, an antibacterial lotion worked, Neosporin I think. Good luck and try not to scratch.
Posted By: Sandshaker

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 04:48 PM

God are smart.....LOL

Thanks for the real scoop....learn something new everyday [Linked Image]

Posted By: Turnbun

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 04:55 PM

I got it in Honduras last year. If you put Benadryl Cream on it, it goes away very quickly. We were better by the next morning. It sure did itch and hurt at first, though!!
Posted By: Sunkissed

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 06:49 PM

Not sure if what I got was this pica pica thing, But I developed a rash which I thought might be a heat rash with the way it looked about 3 days before we left to come home. It started out on the back of my arms then proceeded down the rest of my arm. Great thing to happen when all you want to do is show off your great tan and you have to keep it covered because you look like you have the plague. We got home on a Saturday and by Monday it spread to my legs. Needless to say I went to the doctor and he gave me a prescription for a cortizon cream (over the counter wasn't helping) and had me take Aphran. This helped a lot and was gone within three or four days. I thought maybe I'd had an allergic reaction to something I'd maybe eaten. I hate when things like this happen, just kinda creeps me out. Still have no idea what it actually was.
Posted By: B_b_f_b

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 07:04 PM

Did you get a fever or anything along with the rash? I'm no doctor (although I play one on tv) but it sounds so much like sea scratch. I itched so much I ended up with a fever. Also forgot to mention that I used a cortisone cream (1% or 2% something like that) and it really helped. Don't scratch because I gained a scar from that lovely stuff. I've cought it in Grand Cayman too. I think they call it different things in different places, so it very well may be that pica pica stuff just renamed in Jamaica, sea scratch (also known as sea lice). Remember, DON'T scratch it might scar.
Posted By: munichchick

Re: PicaPica - 04/27/01 10:03 PM

Yep! It is thimble jellyfish larvae and in the Mexican Caribbean they call it Aquamale.
I had 2 encounters with them at Xpuha Beach, Riviera Maya and diving at Palancar Reef both in May 2 years in a row. The first encounter was horrible because I was swimming in this warm shallow area where there must have been millions of these. The water was super clear and you can not see them at all. They went in my bikini bottoms and in all the sensitive privat areas ;(. Thank goodness I was not wearing a top.
I looked like I had a sexual transmitted illness and could barly sit on my behind. Locals gave me vinegar and some cream but was not much help. You don't feel while it happens until hours later I woke up with blisters and itchy as hell at night. Luckely it was on our last vacation day but the flight home and the next day sitting in my office chair was no fun. Hard thing to explain your boss you have to go home early because your butt is itching. Ha, Ha! Here are some tips.
1. Swim naked when possible because they only sting when they get trapped.
2. Since most likely this will not be possible. Put on Sun oil that is suposed to help. And bring vinegar with you so you can put it on if you have the slightest feeling.
3. Put on Benadryl cream and take Benadryl pills against the itiching.
4. Do not scratch because the rash will spread just like poison ivy. But that is easier said than done because you will be super itchy for a week.
5. Season is April to begin of June.
Hey, but even that will not keep me out of this beautiful ocean. Notice we will get the second week of June hoping Jellyseason will be over by than.
Posted By: VancouverGirl

Re: PicaPica - 04/28/01 12:56 AM

Where can I pick up some Safe Sea Jellyfish & Sea Lice Safe Sun Block? We'll be there next week.
Posted By: MaryTom

Re: PicaPica - 04/28/01 01:44 AM

I've read the postings on this subject and I feel I have to share this with you, we went to San Pedro in March, did the Hol Chan and shark Ray Ally Snorkling tour, when I was snorkling Hol Chan, I got STUNG, I knew it immediatley and got a leg cramp right aftrwards, when I got back to the boat it immediatly swelled up , it was on my thigh. I put an ice bag on it, along with some "cortaid" I had brought along.

I thought it was a jellyfish, but I'm starting to wonder, when we got back to the states I had to see a Doctor, he gave me cotazone pills to relieve the pain, and lotion to relieve the itch, I still have a mark that is about 3X2 iches wide...

Not sure what it was, but it hit hard, and I remember seeing some sea grass just prior to being stung.. OUCH..

I will return to Hol Chan, but will wear a wet suit next time!

You can still see where I was stung, it's still bumpy but it dosn't hurt anymore.

I thought maybe sea nettles? Our guide said it was a jelly fish, but Man, it must have was a big one then, and it hurt instantly.
Posted By: seashell

Re: PicaPica - 04/28/01 02:25 AM

Jellyfish stings can leave quite serious scarring.

With regard to where you can buy Safe Sea, first ask at your local dive shops. After that, you can try 888-278-6854 or on line at I don't know if this telephone # and web address are the only place on the web that you can get it or not. If you searched Nidaria on the web, you might find something that way too. Good luck. Let me know how it works out.
Posted By: bzgial

Re: PicaPica - 04/28/01 03:46 PM

Gaz pretty much described what Pica Pica is, and it is called different names in different parts of the world, sea bather's eruption, sea scratch, etc.
There is excellent information provided by Green Reef, a non-profit reef conservation organization in San Pedro. You can visit their website and read some of their articles on Pica Pica.
There are many other good articles on marine life in the section called Reef Notes and I am sure they would appreciate the support of some of you 'regulars'. //

Couple of points:
- Sea grasses have attached to them thousands of minute living plants and animals, one in particular, a tiny anemone (animal with tentacles) that can deliver a rather nasty sting.
- Not all jellyfish sting, sometimes the larva (baby) delivers a worse sting than the adult as in the thimble jellies
- If an elongated welt like wound occurs on your body after swimming, you may possibly have come in contact with the trailing tentacle of a larger jellyfish such as the box jelly or worse yet a Portuguese man-o-war (not a true jelly. Pica Pica will not deliver this type of sting, it is more like hundreds of little pricks with a needle.
-Finally, don't let this deter you from going in the water - it hasn't me and I had the worse bout with Pica Pica a few years back off of one of the southern cayes.
Posted By: Axeman

Re: PicaPica - 04/28/01 04:37 PM

Hi All,
Just got back last night...Gaz has the "Skinny" on the pica pica...I just kept the sunblock on and was just fine...only got hit on my lip...DOH...the only place I DID'NT put the screen...When it's calm they seem to pool on the surface...we only had 1 day like that...I hardly noticed them....
Posted By: llp

Re: PicaPica - 05/01/01 11:31 PM

Those of you heading down and worried about the itch, bring some Diprosone Cream with you or pick some up at a local pharmacy, it's the most effective relief for the itch from pica pica!!!
Posted By: BadKitty

Re: PicaPica - 05/01/01 11:50 PM

I think I had the Pica Pica on my legs last year from snorkeling in Cozumel. At first I thought they were bug bites, but it was worse than that. Then the men at the hotel kept saying "bad water, bad water". Oh did it hurt!

I am planning on going to AC this summer, I will be sure to take precautions.

Thanks for all the info!
Posted By: munichchick

Re: PicaPica - 05/02/01 12:43 AM

Mary! I hope you will get better soon. That must have been painful. Sorry you had to go through that.
Posted By: bzgial

Re: PicaPica - 05/02/01 03:33 PM

The only time I have ever seen pica pica in the waters in Belize is in the spring (I spend a minimum of three months/year in Belize and am there usually in the spring, summer and fall)
Maybe someone else there year round can comment?
Posted By: munichchick

Re: PicaPica - 05/02/01 05:53 PM

I was told by expats in Akumal that thimble jellyfish = Pica Pica season is April through end of May. For example we have been going to the Mexican Caribbean, Central America and other Caribbean Islands many times the first week of September and never had a Pica Pica problem that time of year.
Thimble Jellyfish is all over the Caribbean and even in Florida in spring only.
Posted By: diverdeb1

Re: PicaPica - 05/03/01 02:32 AM

Gaz is right!! The pica pica showed up in the last two weeks of March this year. They are usually from 15' to the surface, right where we all spend 3mins.Sunscreen is your best bethowever I have not tried the new product mentioned on this thread. If you do get munched try windex, meat tenderizer or vinager. the nasty little bumps will go away in a week to ten days in my experience.also I'm not sure if you can see pica pica but the day I got hit this March there were what I would describe as tiny (the size of a ballpoint pen head)urchinlike things suspended in the water, I illuminated one on my dive light.Safe diving!
Posted By: BillandJeanne

Re: PicaPica - 05/03/01 03:29 AM

I was once attacked by the little things in Fla. We could never see them in the water, but one night, we scooped up some water in a clear bucket, and when we shined a light in through the bottom, we could see them.
That was cool -- getting stung; not cool.
Posted By: LKF

Re: PicaPica - 05/09/01 08:49 PM

What an exhaustive discussion!

I just returned a couple of days ago and most people in my party were affected, me the worst. Buggy things seem to love me!

Sun tan lotion seemed to keep them away on some occasions, but not on all. Don't know about the vaseline. Discouraging to hear that skins and wet suits may not offer any protection.

I do know (from personal experience) that I was affected more in covered areas than uncovered. I saw the use of all remedies--Windex, vinegar, Benedryl cream and pills, cortisone. Didn't try the Windex but the rest of the suggestions are valid--they all help to some degree, as does Witch Hazel, which pulls the poison out of mosquito and bee stings, and apparently, pica pica.

I got the worst of it my last day there--May 5. I am hoping to be bump free by the weekend and the worst discomfort was that evening--getting better day by day.

It really is hit or miss out there---you can't see the stuff. Our snorkel guide was getting stung to death on our first trip out to Hol Chan and we got nothing.

Re: PicaPica - 05/09/01 09:47 PM

see there?

all this time i thought pica pica was the only dialogue of the pika chu know that stupid little yellow cat like thing with the lightening bolt tail.
Posted By: shaygray

Re: PicaPica - 05/09/01 10:18 PM

Soooooooo...Has anyone used the new product or the Vaseline? Did it work? I'm going to be there 6/2 and would like to pica-proof myself as much as possible. I got stung in Mexico. Not fun. I know nothing's 100% failsafe, but.....
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