Since we’re enjoying a prolonged summer this year, going to the beach is a good way to spend time with the family. But such breaks are not all about sun, sand and sea – you need to play safe and look out for potential hazards like jellyfish.
Although most jellyfish stings are not life threatening, they can be painful and the sooner you take action, the better. The first thing you need to do when you or your child gets stung is get out of the water. The bite can be itchy or sore at first, but do not scratch the stung area or touch it with your hand or a towel, as this will cause it to spread.
When a jellyfish stings you, it releases thousands of extremely tiny barbs that hook into your skin and release venom. This venom can cause anything from slight discomfort or a painful red rash to illness throughout the body.
Many kids in big cities are not familiar with jellyfish, and only see them at aquariums or on TV. Thus, they might be fooled by the jellyfish’s friendly appearance and want to touch or play with it. It is important for parents to teach their kids about the dangers of jellyfish, and know how to respond in case they are stung.
If you can find saltwater, rinse the stung area with it. If it’s not available, use seawater instead. Avoid using tap water or drinking water because it is likely to spread the venom. If you have shaving cream of shaving foam, the British National Health Service suggests this will help too.
Even if the pain fades after taking these measures, do seek help from a doctor as soon as possible. A jellyfish sting can leave a scar so the sooner you have it treated, the smaller the chance of its leaving a lasting reminder. Another important thing to remember is not to expose the area to harsh sunlight, because the area might become unusually darkened.
If you do end up with a scar, then help is at hand. Technology today can help diminish scarring through, for example, laser therapy, which works by using laser light to penetrate into the skin for resurfacing. This laser resurfacing technique is fast, safe, and simple.
Another option is Magic Light programme, which is effective in treating keloids. Magic Light uses low-intensity laser energy to slow down the overactive collagen production, which causes keloids.
Treating the problem when you are freshly stung is more effective than leaving it until you have developed scars or keloids. Laser treatment can speed up the healing process of the skin, helping your skin go back to its original condition faster.
THANISORN THAMLIKITKUL MD is a member of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery and certified in dermatological laser surgery. Send your questions for her to [email protected]
Published : August 06, 2015
By : Dr. Thanisorn Thamlikitkul, MD