Thimble jellyfish
avoidance, prevention, and cures

I'm planning to scuba and snorkle and I already own a shorty wetsuit. I've heard that the thimble jellyfish are spawning in May and I'm worried about my legs being exposed, particularly while snorkling

You don't feel anything until hours after the exposure.

It's the larvae of the thimble jellyfish that causes the problem. . They normally "pick on" the softer parts of the body such as the neck, behind the ears and also the underarms and crotch. Back of the knees is another hotspot. Often people get the rash if they put a previously infested wetsuit or swimming costume back on without washing it thoroughly.The stinging nematocysts within the larvae or egg are very hardy and stay functional long after the host is dead.

Good prevention methods: 1. use lots of greasy sunscreen on vunerable parts of the body, but beware of slipping on the deck of the boat because of over-greasing. Greasy sunscreen ensures that the larvae and eggs can't stick to your skin. 2. Apply lots of white vinegar to the exposed parts of the body after each immersion..this immobilizes most of the stinging nematocysts. 3. Wash your wetsuit/swimming suit thoroughly after each immersion. Don't walk around in a wet swimming suit after swimming in the sea. 4. When showering off after a dive or swim (after leaving the vinegar on your skin for a couple of minutes), run the water over your body without rubbing for the first minute or so. The stinging nematocysts are activated by mechanical pressure (ie. rubbing etc.)

If you do get a mild attack, gently blot the affected area with ammonia based window cleaner such as Windex. Take a little Benadryl. If the symptons get bad, go to the doctor and he will give you an effective "jab" to relieve the irritation.

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