Bird's Surf Scoop: It's nature's way — so be prepared
by Bird Huffman
Sep 12, 2013 | 2745 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jellyfish can pose a hazard to beachgoers every summer, although stings are generally not life threatening.
Jellyfish can pose a hazard to beachgoers every summer, although stings are generally not life threatening.
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Even though we’re headed into fall, the recent warm weather means we’re all still out on the beaches and in the surf in droves. Like most things in life, all good comes along with a little bad.

Earlier this summer, we saw some sea creatures putting a spoiler on some beachgoer’s days. A plaque of jellyfish had been moving in and out, up and down with the tides, winds and swells.

Since many of us who spend a lot of time in the water will inevitably come into close contact with these creatures, it might be a good idea to get some pointers on how to avoid them — and what to do when you can’t.

It has been quite a few years since these animals have shown up. While generally not a life-threatening issue for most people, they sure can spoil your day. Depending upon a person’s reaction to a jellyfish sting, it can run from mild irritation to out of the water, off the beach and back home for a hot shower or bath.

Jellyfish are pesky, as they are easily torn apart and the bits and pieces can still pack some sting — and it’s amazing the way they can find their way inside of bathing suits and wetsuits. It’s pretty hard to avoid these critters, but if at all possible, do so. I’m not quite sure why they picked this particular year to return in force, but in the event they return again, it’s ideal to have a strategy.

The other creature that has been a major problem is the stingray, whose prick or slash can ruin your whole week, once again depending upon where and how deep the barb goes into you. The pain is excruciating and long lasting. It instantly feels like a red-hot knife has cut into you — and then it gets worse. You’ll feel it slowly start to crawl up your leg if it’s a foot wound, and there is little you can do to stop it.

The standard treatment is to place the afflicted area in as hot of water as you can stand. Both the injury and the treatment are very painful. Rays can be avoided by shuffling your feet or limiting your contact with the sand to as little time as possible. The ocean floor is covered with them, and stings have been reported at all beaches on a regular basis. The flat, sandy breaks, as well as the bays, are where they seem to converge the most.

This little bit of information is in no way aimed at keeping you out of the waters or off of the beaches, but a little knowledge can go a long way toward making your ocean experiences more pleasurable during every season of the year.

See you in the surf.

Have a question or comment for Bird? Send it to bbp@sdnews.com.

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