As if we needed ONE MORE reason to stay out of the beautiful waters of the Gulf Coast, here’s another lurking issue to lure you into nightmares. (See what I did there?)
Boys and girls, that’s what you call a Portuguese man o’ war. They found one on the beach on the Jersey Shore today among a whole host of other things, I’m sure. (I’m lookin’ at you, Snookie.) Apparently these guys are SUPER poisonous and CAN be fatal to humans. I’m especially freaked out by these things because I had a run-in several years ago with a microscopic jellyfish in Cancun that easily ranks in the top 5 worst situations I’ve ever been in. And there are MANY a blind date in that all-inclusive category, y’all.
Affectionately called a “sea flea” (or pulgas marinas), said jellyfish felt like a piece of seaweed scratched me on the back and kind of stung like a cut. Until my entire body felt like it I had been overtaken by voodoo magic and someone was using a pin on a doll somewhere all over me. And then it got worse.
But to really add insult to injury in this situation, my entire family (we were on a family trip) thought I was expressing a flair for the dramatics (unheard of) and crying for no reason about a “sunburn.” (Also never happens.) They pointed and laughed and documented the moment with pictures. Which was so sweet of them and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy looking back on that moment in the FAMILY VACATION ALBUM.
But it did get worse. By dinner that night (luckily our last) my entire body was on fire and everyone was chalking it up to a classic case of sun poisoning. Because what the?
By the time we got back to the room and everyone got in bed, something really strange had started to happen. My legs started twitching. Involuntarily. A lot.
So running down the hallway to my mommy and daddy’s room is exactly that the heck I did. Only to sit in the room wide awake with them all night while by entire body engaged in muscle spasms that my dad likened to “your whole body having the hiccups” (humor) and my mom frantically calling every doctor friend we knew in the States to find out why her daughter’s nervous system had been hacked.
After an entire sleepless night, no answer from many baffled doctors, and several hundred calorie burning twitches we loaded up in the taxi to get to the airport. Which is where I met my hero, and possibly the smartest man in Mexico.
Laughing, my dad told the taxi driver about our interesting night and he, without hesitation, diagnosed me on the spot. “It’s pulgas marinas!” Awesome…Mexican sea fleas.
“And you’re lucky you didn’t swallow one in the water. Otherwise you’d be throwing up and convulsing for an entire week! This will wear off in 24 hours or so.”
And that is how I came to love the knowledge of locals. And hate jellyfish.
On another note, everyone is gearing up for Shark Week 2015! You can find all of the pertinent info here along with some videos that will hopefully not lead you to a premature sporting of a pair of Depends. Yet another, larger reason to stay out of the water. The number of attacks so far this summer have led me to believe that sharks are really angry at us. I’m not sure if there’s some issue that the government didn’t get around to solving for them or something, but y’all they’re mad. And your appendages are at risk.
So everyone do the smart thing at the coast this summer. Only get into the water far enough to potty, and find yourself a nice pool to dip into. The only thing you have to worry about there is urine and chlorine! And I’ll take those odds.