Jellyfish are bell-shaped, gelatinous marine creatures with tentacles that are sometimes longer than three feet. Jellyfish venom oftentimes triggers allergic reactions with symptoms including rash, intense, stinging pain, and raised welts. Symptoms may then progress to include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, back and abdominal pain, fever, chills and sweating, and swelling of the lymph nodes. In severe reactions, a person may have difficulty breathing, slip into a coma, and even die.
Anyone with severe symptoms such as intense pain, chest pain, or shortness of breath needs immediate medical attention. Call 911, manage signs of shock, and begin CPR
For other reactions take the following steps:
Rinse the sting with seawater, not fresh water, as the latter will increase pain. Don't apply ice packs or rub the area. Irrigate eye stings with one gallon of fresh water.
Apply acetic acid 5% (white vinegar) or isopropyl alcohol; use one-fourth strength vinegar for mouth stings, but do not use vinegar in the case of any oral swelling or difficulty swallowing.
Remove any tentacles carefully with tweezers while wearing gloves.
Apply a paste of baking soda, mud, or shaving cream to the injury, then shave the area with a knife or razor and reapply vinegar or alcohol. The paste will prevent additional toxin discharge during the shaving.
Minimize movement of affected area to reduce spread of the poison. (For box jellyfish stings, wrap the extremity similar to wrapping a sprained ankle, making sure that toes and fingers are still pink, and leave bandaged until you receive medical attention.)
Take OTC pain relievers as directed and apply 1% hydrocortisone cream two to three times daily, or use antihistamines such as Benadryl to relieve itching.
Your doctor may prescribe topical and oral steroids, and if you continue to have redness and irritation after two to three days, it may be a sign of bacterial infection of the injury and you need to see your doctor. Be aware that allergic reactions to jellyfish stings may occur up to four weeks afterward, so watch for any signs.
BEACH UNDERTOW AND CURRENTS
Beach Undertows & Currents
An undertow is a type of ocean current which is caused by waves breaking on the shore. Most undertows are quite mild and not dangerous, as long as swimmers keep their heads, although some have been known to be powerful enough to sweep swimmers out to sea. Incidentally, an undertow is not the same thing as a rip current, although the two currents are both caused by breaking waves on the shore.
To understand how an undertow works, think about what happens when waves break on shore. The water obviously has to go somewhere, and this is what causes an undertow: as waves break, water from previous waves runs underneath them, creating a gentle current which runs back out to sea. When there is heavy wave action, the undertow may not be able to get out, and as a result the water builds up and looks for a weak point in the breaking waves. When the water finds a weak point, it pushes out to sea, creating a rip current.
Most undertows are not very strong, and the risk of an undertow is most severe for inexperienced swimmers who are standing or swimming near breaking waves. An undertow can pull someone underwater for a few seconds, but if the swimmer remains calm and swims towards the surface, he or she should be ok. The undertow is not usually strong enough to prevent the swimmer from returning to shore, unlike a rip current, which will carry the swimmer out to sea.
When swimmers encounter strong undertows, the tempting thing to do is to push towards the shore in the hopes of breaking through the undertow. This is actually a terrible idea, as swimmers can tire themselves out before they reach the shoreline. The best thing to do is to swim parallel to the shore, testing for a weak point in the undertow which will allow the swimmer to get back to shore, and the same technique works for rip currents. If a swimmer tires, he or she should tread water and float in the hopes that a rescuer will arrive soon.
If you are visiting an area with unfamiliar waters, it is a good idea to ask about prevailing currents. Locals can warn you about areas with especially strong undertows, or areas where rip currents often arise. As a general rule, the steeper the slope that the waves approach on, the stronger the resulting undertow; long shallow approaches create much less wave velocity, generating a much more gentle undertow.
Create a first aid kit including the necessary materials discussed in class
Write scenarios regarding emergency situations: to be role played by the students
Actively promote the good habits of first aid techniques in everyday life
Promote the habit of noticing emergencies and assisting those in need
Create "Check, Call, Care" posters to be displayed around school
Students will build health skills and knowledge in the area of injury prevention and safety.
What is the difference between healthy and unhealthy risks?
Why do we sometimes take risks that can cause harm to ourselves or others?
Why is making the right decision in an emergency important and how can that decision influence the situation?
Tell them you would like them to write about a time when they felt either in physical danger or emotional distress. Ask them to write how they felt during the experience and how their bodies responded physically and emotionally.