Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The ocean water in Puerto Vallarta is visited by jellyfish seasonally. Whereas some types of jellyfish are indigenous around the globe, we are simply a tourist destination for a couple of the species, some harmful.
What do they look like? If you see a gelatinous blue blob on the sand while you're walking down the beach in Puerto Vallarta and surrounding areas, avoid it and keep your eyes peeled for more. Their sting can be very painful, even when they seem to be dead. We've heard them called Blue Devil, which is an appropriate label, since they will feel like you've stepped into a bit of hell.
Once you've been stung, it can take a long time for the pain to dissipate. The pain and scarring varies from person to person but we have heard of some having sensitivity for weeks following the original injury. We've also had friends who've been stung and were hardly bothered at all, considering it little more than an annoyance.
For remedies, there are many, some absurd but worth trying. Don't ever rub the area of the sting, especially if there are bits of jellyfish on your skin. Get it as wet as possible, using seawater to rinse it off, pouring copious amounts of water on the skin to shed any remnants of the animal.
If you have any kind of allergic reaction, get to an emergency room immediately. Swelling of the skin; hives; and/or difficulty in swallowing or breathing indicate a serious reaction and can be extremely dangerous. We've been asked many times if urinating on the stings helps and we can attest to the fact that we've seen it work when other solutions fell short. It's worth a try, urine is clean, but make sure it's your own, not someone else's.
There is a cure that locals and residents claim is the best remedy and it's not a bad idea to add it to the beach first aid kit: unflavored meat tenderizer. Pour seawater on the aggravated spot with generous amounts of tenderizer. Let it soak in and the jellyfish bits should dissolve. Continue to rinse with seawater. Follow this with ice cold fresh water and coat with any type of cream that contains benzocaine.
If we see jellyfish on the beach, we stay out of the water in that specific area. The invasion of these creatures is an off and on event for the first few weeks in the summer but you can find beaches in Puerto Vallarta that are not affected, since jellyfish tend to float with currents so they can pass by huge swatches. It's still safe to go into the water.
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