Help - Recurring rash after diving in cozumel

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gopbroek

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I would suggest consulting a doctor on the island. I have used the walkin clinic on AV 25 and calle Jose Maria Morelos and another time the emergency room at the San Miguel hospital on 6th. Always received good prompt care for very reasonable fees. The International hospital and chamber on Calle 5 may be better for dive related maladies and from everyone I have spoken to, who use them, I have always heard very good things about them.
 

bamafan

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You can get triamcinolone cream at just about any pharmacy there. Works wonders. I got into the Chechen trees looking for cenotes there two weeks ago. I found 3 of them so it was worth it.
 

Duke Dive Medicine

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Triamcinolone is a pretty strong steroid - you have to be careful with it. It's typically only recommended for small areas of the body.

This is not advice to take medication or brand endorsement, but OTC hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl or generic diphenhydramine may be beneficial. If you use them, just as with any medication, follow the directions and don't use if you're allergic to any of the components.

Best regards,
DDM
 

DocVikingo

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Looks like Seabather's Eruption to me. I assume they have this in Cozumel, but do not know for sure, it is most common in Florida.

It most assuredly does occur in Cozumel.

Here is an article on SBE that I wrote some years ago which interested divers should find informative -->

"Dealing With Sea Bather's Eruption (SBE)

A common form of skin disorder after diving is sea bather's eruption, or SBE. Often mistakenly attributed to "sea lice," which are parasites of fish, SBE is primarily caused by the larval form of thimble jellyfish, very small creatures which float near the surface. Found in Florida, Mexico and the wider Caribbean, they are most numerous from March to August, with early April to early June being peak season.

The main feature of SBE is raised and itchy red welts/blotches which appear 4 to 24 hours after swimming or diving. The larvae tend to attach to swim wear, dive suits and hair, causing the skin under covered areas of the body and around the back of the neck to be most affected. Depending on exposure and individual sensitivity, there may be fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, generalized weakness or chills.

Prevention of stings is the best way to combat SBE. You should:

(1) Ask resorts and dive shops if they are aware of heavy infestation;

(2) Wear a snug fitting full body protective suit which fits tightly at the neck, wrist and ankle. Swim suits and T-shirts are not recommended;

(3) Apply a thin layer of SafeSea (*see below), sun protectant, baby oil or petroleum jelly to the skin;

(4) When surfacing, vigorously purge your second stage above your head just before breaking the water;

(5) Perform your safety stop at 15-20' as the larvae tend to congregate above this;

(6) If on a night dive, turn your light off at the safety stop and keep it off, and:

(7) Remove wet garments immediately and rinse yourself in salt water, then wash yourself thoroughly in fresh. Do not rinse off with any items on.

If you do get stung:

(1) Immediately apply white vinegar to affected skin areas, or whatever is on the boat for such stings. Repeat regularly for up to 60 minutes. Or, put on a thin paste of meat tenderizer and allow it to dry. Wash it off within ~20 minutes. In place of meat tenderizer, some find it more soothing to rub the area with papaya if it is readily available;

(2) Bathing in or applying colloidal oatmeal, which can be purchased at the pharmacy or grocery store, may afford additional relief. Follow these actions with the topical application of hydrocortisone cream/lotion, twice a day;

(3) Given that there are no contraindications, take an oral antihistamine (nonsedating type if you are going to continue diving) if the allergic reaction continues; and

(4) Wash all dive garments well in warm, soapy water and let dry completely before wearing again.

Remember that if you have a severe allergic reaction, or don't get substantial resolution from self treatment, or the eruption seems to be getting worse or infected, you should seek medical attention in a timely manner.

*BTW, this article that I wrote for Undercurrent discusses SafeSea in some detail: http://www.undercurrent.org/UCnow/articles/Jellies200309.shtml) provides some additional details.

© Doc Vikingo

Back to Awoosh Main Directory"

Regards,

DocVikingo
 

NYCNaiad

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Thanks all. She did not wear a wet suit at all on any dive.

I think a wet suit (even a light one) is always a good idea. Not only for protection from sea bather's eruption, but as protection from all sorts of fun underwater scenarios. When it's super warm, I'll sometimes opt for a dive skin. But I always have something covering my body as it's much easier to prevent an issue than treat one.
 

ColoDale

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I've dived in Cozumel quite a bit and had similar marks, and the individual marks look like hydroid stings but the lines suggest jellyfish. I have had hydroid stings but those I know immediately when I touch them near the bottom of the ocean. The jellyfish stings I get are usually on the safety stop or more usual, at the surface wating to get on the boat and are usually a more solid line with less space between the bumps.

I get hydroid stings on my hands when I use my camera and above my ankles on the front.
I get jellyfish stings normally in a line that wraps around my calf. I don't seem to be bothered by the thimble jellyfish. Occasionlly I will get a small sting on the lip but those generally don't raise up and happens on the end of a dive nearer to the surface. Never on the neck for some reason. My wife is the one who gets jellyfish stings on the neck.

I dive in a 3mm jacket and surf shorts so legs and hands are the targets. For me, hydroid stings itch the most and can last one to two weeks until they go away. The jellyfish stings for me sting less overall but last longer and don't raise up as much. I used to dive in a short sleeved nylon t-shirt but after being sting in the armpit more than a few times, the long sleeve and tighter jacket is the solution.

OTC cortisone and topical antihistimine work fine for me for both jellyfish and hydroid stings. I have noticed on some trips, small pieces of hydroids in the water column but that is usually due to a storm or strange currents. I had someone we knew that had allergic reaction to sand flea bites in Cozumel and could not sleep until they took OTC oral antihistimine. I don't think these are sand flea bites.
Hard scrubbing hydroid and jellyfish stings with water and soap makes it worse for me.
YMMV (your daughter) for reactions.

I have found spring time over the years has more jellyfish but I suppose it depends on water temp and other factors as compared to winter months.

I would think that the sting would have been noticed when it happened. So if remembered, stings near the surface are probably going to be Jellyfish and those on the bottom are probably be hydroid. Fire coral is on the bottom also but having been stung once or twice in twenty years, a fire coral sting would be immediately noticed especally in three different areas.
 
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