It’s jellyfish season: Cebu Municipality issues safety tips to visitors

June 28, 2023 - 5:18 PM
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A photo of jellyfish floating near the surface of the water in Cebu (Municipality of Santa Fe/Facebook)

A municipality in Cebu advised tourists on how to stay safe while swimming amid jellyfish season.

The Municipality of Sante Fe, which is located on the popular Bantayan Island in Cebu, announced that it is jellyfish season, or the time of year when smacks of jellyfish are spotted near beaches.

This natural phenomenon usually takes place from May to September.

Santa Fe’s municipal government posted this advisory on its Facebook account last June 9.

“Jellyfish alert! We would like to inform all our visitors to exercise caution while swimming in the sea due to the significant number of jellyfish present in the waters. This period is commonly referred to as ‘jellyfish season.’ During this time, the likelihood of encountering jellyfish in coastal areas is higher,” the post reads.

The municipal government also explained that jellyfish vary in size, shape and level of toxins in their tentacles.

“Jellyfish can vary in size, shape, and severity of their stings. While most jellyfish stings are not life-threatening, they can cause discomfort, pain, and sometimes allergic reactions,” it said.

It is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety,” it added.

The post was also accompanied by a photo of a jellyfish.

While the advisory did not specify the specie of the invertebrate, the jellyfish in the photo looked like the deadly box jellyfish floating near the surface.

Here’s a summary of the safety tips from the municipal government’s post:

  1. Observe warning signs.
  2. Consider wearing a wetsuit or other protective clothing that covers your skin to minimize direct contact with jellyfish tentacles.
  3. Apply a jellyfish repellent or protective lotion recommended by experts or local authorities. These repellents may help deter jellyfish from approaching your skin.
  4. Stay updated with the local news or consult lifeguards to gather information about the current jellyfish situation in the area.
  5. Avoid touching or swimming near jellyfish. It is essential to maintain a safe distance from jellyfish in the water, as they can sting even if they appear to be inactive or dead. Avoid touching them, as their tentacles may still be capable of delivering a sting.

In case of jellyfish stinging, victims are advised to quickly seek medical attention.

“Rinse the affected area with saltwater (avoid using freshwater, as it may worsen the sting), and consider using a vinegar solution or a commercial jellyfish sting remedy if available. Do not rub the area or apply pressure, as it can release more venom,” the advisory reads.

Death due to box jellyfish

This week, some Facebook users reminded travelers about this advisory.

This was brought up after a female visitor from Bohol died due to an encounter with a box jellyfish at a public beach in Santa Fe.

READ: Boholana tourist dies after box jellyfish encounter in Cebu’s Bantayan Island

Spanning up to ten feet long and ten inches across, a box jellyfish earned its name for its cube-like or box-like bell. It has a reputation of having a powerful venom from its tentacles that can instantly kill or stun its prey.

Reports said that the woman suffered from a jellyfish sting while swimming with her friends at 2 p.m. in the afternoon last Sunday, June 25.

In a statement, Santa Fe Municipal Mayor Ithamar Espinosa expressed his condolences to the female tourist’s friends and family following the incident.

Espinosa also advised the public to be vigilant when swimming and engaging in water activities in the province around this time.