The Israeli summer usually begins in June, so we’re already deep in the summer. Along with the crazy heat and the humidity, come also the jellyfish. The most common jellyfish, which come to Tel Aviv and many other coastal cities along the Israeli Coastal Plain, are called nomad jellyfish and they LOVE the nice and warm water. Until the 1970s, the nomad jellyfish were found only in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but then those adventurous jellyfish decided to cross through the Suez Canal and invade the Mediterranean Sea. Since then, they call the Mediterranean their home. During the winter months they hide somewhere deep in the sea, but when the temperature of the water rises in the summer, they start making their way towards the shores.
This year – 2019 – they have started showing up along the Coastal Plain only at the beginning of July. Usually, they come already in June. So if you’re travelling to Israel sometime in the next couple of years, you can expect to see the jellyfish along the coast of Israel usually from June to August. The jellyfish usually stay about 4 weeks in the area, from the first sighting.
The nomad jellyfish usually come in a swarm, so when the swarm is at its peak, about 2-3 weeks after the sighting of the first jellyfish, it’s quite hard to swim in the water without getting stung. The jellyfish are also not so good at swimming, so they just go with the flow, which sometimes crashes them on the shore. The jellyfish which are on the shore are also able to sting you, so keep away from any jellyfish you see – in the water or on the shore. You can also get a skin rash from just swimming next to the jellyfish, without it stinging you. There has never been a case of someone being killed by a jellyfish sting in Israel and most cases are very simple and include just a skin rash, but still, you should be careful.
What to do if a jellyfish stings you?
If you really want to swim in spite of the jellyfish swarm and get stung – the Israeli Health Department recommends you do these steps:
- Get out of the water and use a plastic stick to get the remains of the jellyfish away from your body.
- Wash the stung area with seawater.
- Afterwards, wash the stung area with a strong and direct flow of tap water for a couple of minutes without touching the area.
- If there’s a first aid station on the beach, you can go there to get more medical help if needed. If you experience symptoms which aren’t just a skin rash, for example if you experience breathing problems, weakness or if the stung area turns blue – you must go to a medical center immediately.
Things you should not do:
- Do not rub the stung area. This could just help the venom get deeper into your skin and worsen the situation.
- Do not rub the stung area with alchohol.
- Do not pee on the area. Unlike what people thought a few years back, new studies say it doesn’t really help and might even make the pain more painful.
- Do not use vinegar. A new study says that vinegar could make the sting worse, but some say you should still use vinegar, so there’s still a disagreement about this.
I am not a doctor, so the steps I wrote here were all taken from the Israeli Health Department and other medical websites. The most important way to deal with the jellyfish is to get away from them before they even sting you!
Does this mean you should avoid the beach?
No! Go to the Israeli beaches. They are beautiful and a great place to hang out in the sun. Just keep an eye out for those jellyfish! 🙂
Have a safe and enjoyable time at the beach!
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