Medical Information for Seaside Living. wants you to have fun & be safe at the beach!  

A Jellyfish swimming up Jarvis Creek

Avoidance of Jellyfish & Stingrays                 

Although all stings can not be avoided, many can be. Simple steps can be taught to young ones and can help prevent a miserable beach experience. Swimming is fun and should be encouraged.

Stingray Avoidance
Stingrays lay on the bottom, partly burring under the sand. When stepped on, they will whip their tail up and stab the offender with their barb. It is a defensive behavior. Always shuffle your feet on the sand bottom when wadding in the water. This way, you will alert the ray of your presence and it may scare them off. Teach young ones to shuffle their feet and never “walk” as if on land.
Jellyfish Avoidance
If you find a beached jellyfish, do not touch. They can still sting. Often turtles will eat jellyfish, and some tentacles may break off and find their way to the beach, and they can still sting. There are products that claim to prevent jellyfish stings from occurring and products for treatment after a sting, which are basically vinegar solutions suspended in a jell and stick on the affected area longer.
Jellyfish usually travel in groups and are not fast swimmers. They are carried by currents and the wind mainly. If you see them in the water, simply find another place to swim. If you do get stung, park officials often have had experience with the treatment and may be able to help you, so if they are around, get help. It is always a good idea to have some white vinegar in your beach bag just in case someone experiences a sting.

Treatment of Jellyfish encounters.
Most marine stings present no real danger, but some people may require medical treatment if “shock type symptoms” appear or a severe rash develops. Otherwise, stopping painful toxin release & preventing infection is the main treatment concern.
Jellyfish Stings
Get the person out of the water before treating. Remove tentacles if still present using gloves or a piece of clothing. The victim may have welts resembling whip marks or a mild rash. This will be the area to scrape. Gently scrape the skin surface with a credit card or a dull blade to remove remaining cells attached to the skin. Dry sand can also be used if no card or blade is available.
Stop the Venom
The best way to neutralize the stinger cells is to saturate a cloth placed over the area with vinegar, white vinegar being best, for 30-60 minutes.( An old liniment dabber bottle is great for this or an old rollon deodorant bottle. Great to stick in a beach bag.) Always test small area first. Never use meat tenderizer, cold fresh water, alcohol & urine as these may activate the stinger cells. If no vinegar is available, soak area in hot water, as hot as victim can tolerate, for 60-90 minutes.
Long Term Care
The victim will probably develop mild welts or a mild rash. This is normal, and should heal in 1-3 weeks. Pain is usually a mild to moderate burning sensation & usually lasts for 1-3 days. You can apply an antibiotic ointment on broken skin & hydrocortisone cream may relieve pain. If severe bead looking welts or shock symptoms develop, take the person to the hospital or call EMS.

Stingray and Catfish Stings
Catfish have poison glands that inject toxin through hollow barbs. A Stingray barb is coated with venom. Pain can be severe, but usually is not life threatening, except wounds to chest, face & abdomen areas, which are very serious & require EMS treatment.

Hardhead Catfish Wounds

Stings usually occur when handling catfish caught while fishing, usually involving the hand or foot. 3-barbs, one on the dorsal fin and one on each side, are serrated and can be very difficult to remove if deeply embedded. Usually a doctor should remove.
If the barb is not embedded, immerse the affected part in hot water, as hot as the victim can tolerate, but not hot enough to burn. Although the pain will be relieved in seconds, leave in the
hot water for 30-60 minutes. Keep the water as hot as can be tolerated. The poison will drain from wound into the water. Clean wound with a mild soap,  a dab of Tea Tree oil or an antiseptic solution. Wrap with gauze.

Stingray Wounds

Stingray injuries may occur when fishing or wadding. The barb is located on the tail, and is stabbed into the victim as a defensive maneuver. If no barb is embedded, treat like the catfish treatment above. Laceration type wounds may require stitches. A tetanus shot may also be required. Should shock symptoms develop, or barb is embedded in tissue, the victim will require EMS & hospital treatment. Never pull out a barb deeply embedded in tissue, chest or abdomen areas, which can be very serious.

What a Chigger Is:

Chiggers are tiny (most can only be seen with a magnifying glass) and red, and they are a type of mite. Mites aren’t insects — they are arachnids and part of the same family as spiders, scorpions, and ticks.

Chiggers are found all over the place, including in grassy fields, along lakes and streams, and in forests. Beautiful “Spanish Moss” hanging from the “Sea Oaks” can be loaded with them! There are adult chiggers and baby chiggers (called larvae), but only the baby chiggers bother people and animals.

Chiggers have tiny claws that allow them to attach tightly onto people and animals. Once attached, they are able to pierce the skin and inject their saliva, which contains digestive juices that dissolve skin cells. The chigger then slurps up the dissolved skin cells. To the chigger, this is a tasty meal! Having a chigger do this is very irritating to your skin.After a few days, the chigger will be done feeding and fall off a person’s skin, leaving behind a red welt where it had once been. A popular myth about chiggers is that they burrow into the skin and remain there, but this is incorrect. When the chigger bites, it inserts its feeding structures and mouth parts into the skin. They inject enzymes into the host skin that destroy the host tissue. The area then hardens, and a feeding tube, called a sylostome, develops at the bite area. Chiggers can feed on the skin for a few days through this structure if they are not disturbed.

If a person gets bitten by a chigger, the bite will be very itchy. A chigger bite will cause a tiny red bump, which will get bigger and itchier as time goes on. The itchy bump can last for days or even a couple of weeks.

If you think you’ve been bitten by a chigger, wash the bite with soap and water. Put on some calamine lotion or cool compresses to help with the itching, or an adult can find an anti-itch cream or medicine at the drugstore for you. Try not to scratch the bites too much, because this can make the bites become infected. Treatment for chigger bites is directed toward relieving the itching andinflammationCalamine lotion and corticosteroid creams may be used to control itching. Oral antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or Tea Tree oil may also be used for symptom relief.

Because chigger bites are so itchy, many people do get an infection from scratching the bites. If this happens, the doctor will prescribe a medication to help with the itching and a medicine to clear up the infection.

How to Avoid Getting Bitten

The best way to avoid getting bitten by a chigger is to wear an insect repellent. Ask your parents to apply one that contains 10% to 30% DEET. Or use my repellant spray  under the Ticks and Fleas section. When it’s possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, especially if you’ll be hiking or playing in fields.Once you come in from being in an outdoor area that may have chiggers, take a hot shower and use plenty of soap. Also, be sure to wash your clothes in hot water to kill any chiggers that might be living there.


One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Morever, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age.

If a person suffers any of these conditions with sunburn they should go to a hospital’s emergency department:

  • Severe pain
  • Severe blistering
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • An acute problem with another medical condition
  • Relief of the discomfort becomes important, and there are several sunburn remedies.
    • Medications such as aspirinibuprofen, and naproxen to decrease pain and inflammation are useful, especially when started early.
    • For mild sunburn, cool compresses with equal parts of milk and water may suffice. Cold compresses with Burow’s solution may also be used, and can be bought at a drugstore. Dissolve 1 packet in 1 pint of water. Soak gauze or a soft clean cloth in it. Gently wring out the cloth and apply to the sunburned area for 15-20 minutes. Change or refresh the cloth and solution every 2-3 hours.
    • Aloe vera gel or aloe-based lotions may soothe irritated skin. These can be found in the drugstore.
    • Cool (not ice cold) baths may help. Avoid bath salts, oils, and perfumes because these may produce sensitivity reactions. Avoid scrubbing the skin or shaving the skin. Use soft towels to gently dry the body. Don’t rub. Use a light, fragrance-free skin moisturizer.
    • Avoid lotions that contain topical anesthetic medications because a person can become sensitized and then allergic to that medicine.
    • Stay out of the sun while you are sunburned.
    • Stay hydrated to avoid dehydration.


Adding a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda to cool bath water makes a sunburn-soothing remedy. Just keep your soaking time down to 15 to 20 minutes. If you soak any longer, you risk drying out your already lizard-like skin. When you’ve emerged from the bath, resist the urge to towel off. Instead air-dry, and don’t wipe the baking soda off.

Oatmeal added to cool bathwater offers another wonderful relief for sunburned skin. Fill up the bathtub with cool water–not cold water because that can send the body into shock. Don’t use bath salts, oils, or bubble bath. Instead, scoop 1/2 to 1 cup oatmeal — an ideal skin soother — and mix it in. Another option is to buy Aveeno, an oatmeal powder found in the pharmacy. Follow the packet’s directions. As with the baking soda, air-dry your body and don’t wipe the oatmeal off your skin.

The thick, gel-like juice of the aloe vera plant can take the sting and redness out of a sunburn. Aloe vera causes blood vessels to constrict. Luckily, this healing plant is available at your local nursery or even in the grocery store’s floral department. Simply slit open one of the broad leaves and apply the gel directly to the burn. Apply five to six times per day for several days.


  • Ringworm is a common fungal infection of the skin and is not due to a worm.
  • The medical term for ringworm istinea. The condition is further named for the site of the body where the infection occurs.
  • Ringworm causes a scaly, crusted rash that may itch.
  • Ringworm can be successfully treated with antifungal medications used either topically or orally.

Ringworm occurs in people of all ages, but it is particularly common in children. Ringworm is contagious and can be passed from person to person by contact with infected skin areas or by sharing combs and brushes, other personal care items, or clothing. It is also possible become infected with ringworm after coming in contact with locker room or pool surfaces. The infection can also affect dogs and cats, and pets may transmit the infection to humans. Such as beach areas where dog excrement can be found in sandy beach areas not washed out by the tides. Be careful letting children play in the upper marsh grass of the beaches. It is common to have several areas of ringworm at once in different body areas.

The signs and symptoms of ringworm include:

  • A circular rash on your skin that’s red and inflamed around the edge and healthy looking in the middle
  • Slightly raised expanding rings of red, scaly skin on your trunk or face
  • A round, flat patch of itchy skin

More than one patch of ringworm may appear on your skin, and patches or red rings of rash may overlap. You can have tinea infection without having the common red ring of ringworm.

When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you have a rash on your skin that doesn’t improve within two weeks. You may need prescription medication.

See your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Excessive redness
  • Swelling
  • Drainage
  • Fever

HOME REMEDY TO REPEL Ticks, Fleas & Skeeters

Ticks latch onto the skin of mammals and feed on their blood. They can carry and transmit potentially fatal diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.
If you let your dog or cat run around outside for exercise, you might run into problems with ticks. This problem can be especially troublesome if you live near a wooded area or a field of high grass. Your pets can carry the ticks back into the house where they can get on you. If you or your children venture outside where there are ticks, they may attach themselves to you, even if you don’t have a pet. Teach your children tick-avoidance rules. Do not allow them to wander in forests, and tell them to stay on trails when hiking to eliminate tick problems. Besides tick and flea medication from your vet these remedies can also help.


Pour 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar into your pet’s water bowl and add 3 cups of water. The ticks will not like the taste or smell of the vinegar emanating from your pet’s skin, so they will not attach to the skin. Apple cider vinegar is safe for dogs and cats to consume.

Crush the berries of the beautyberry bush found in Mississippi into a pulp. Mix the pulp with some tea tree oil. Beautyberries are often used as a mosquito repellent, but the Agricultural Research Service has found the berry may work in repelling ticks as well. Apply the beautyberry mixture to the backs of your pet’s ears and neck and other places your pet commonly gets ticks. Ticks usually attach themselves to places where there is less fur to get through and where the skin is thinner.

Besides using the the tried and true pulling the tick by the head with tweezers and disinfectant method another home remedy for removing a tick is to rub the tick in a circular (twirling) motion for about a minute. For some reason, this occasionally causes ticks to back out of the skin. This method can be used on humans first before diving in with tweezers. You can also try the cotton ball method below under “People”


A tick is a parasitic creature that lives in woods, grassy fields and bushes. Ticks easily transfer to people who brush up against an object where the tick is sitting. Different species of ticks range in size from being difficult to see to being as large as a pencil. The tick migrates to a warm, moist area of the body, such as the armpits or groin. At any time, the tick can attach to the host person and begin to feed on blood. After a tick bites, it can transfer diseases such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever to the host person. Correctly removing the tick within the first 24 to 72 hours helps decrease the possibility of getting sick from the bite, according to Kids Health

 Many areas where children like to play harbor ticks, small parasitic arachnids that can latch onto your child and feed on blood. Ticks are not only a nuisance. They also spread diseases, such as Lyme disease. To reduce the risk of a tick bite, child-safe repellents are available. The most widely used repellent approved for kids is DEET, which is available in spray, lotion, aerosol, cream or towelette form. Apply DEET only on exposed areas of your child’s skin and the outside of clothing. Do not apply the repellent under clothing. When using a DEET-based lotion on your child, apply the product to your hands first, then to the skin of your child. Avoid applying DEET near the eyes or mouth, or on the hands and feet of infants, who often place them in their mouths. Do not apply DEET on cuts, scrapes or skin that is irritated.Getting ticks out!My favorite way is getting a cotton ball dampened with a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil and water. Tea Tree oil is also a disinfectant and is great for traveling. Or if you are visiting someone and they do not have any oils you can use water or white vinegar and put a good gob of DAWN liquid detergent on it. Place over the tick so he is soaking in it. Leave the cotton ball on him undisturbed for a good 2 minutes so he cant breath. He should come up for air and get caught in the cotton ball threads. Lift the cotton ball gently to see if he has released yet. If not continue to let soak a little longer. If using tweezers never use it on the body. Get as close to the front of the head as possible so as not to squeeze the contents of the stomach out. Put in cotton bal and freeze for doctor if you are concerned about deseases. You can also use a cotton ball or Q-Tip soaked in Tea Tree Oil or a Q-Tip dipped in Rose-Geranium essential oil. A few drops of Rose-Geranium essential oil & Rosemary essential oil can be put on a damp/wet cotton ball and rubbed behind children’s ears, neck, arms & legs to keep mosquitos off and help repel Fleas & Ticks. Great for camping when you are limited on space.OR…

Repellant for pets or kids, my blend …

In a 16 oz spray bottle mix:  (Use essential oils only)

  • 10 oz Water
  • 3 oz Apple Cider
  • 3 oz Skin So Soft (SSS)
  • 10 drops each of Rose-Geranium oil, Rosemary oil, Cedarwood oil
  • 20 drops of Citronella oil

Shake well before spraying and cover eyes.
Please keep in mind any remedies such as vaseline, hot matches, nail polish remover, etc- could actually make things worse. Anything that might cause ‘shock’ to the tick could result in the tick purging (that’s the same as vomiting) the contents of its body into your bloodstream, infecting you with any number of diseases. You can also  just safely and quickly remove the tick with tweezers, cleanse the bite and watch for the symptoms of tick related sickness. Keep your tick frozen for your Dr incase of problems later.

Play it safe! Research anything in question further as this is just an outline for reference.