A BRITISH holidaymaker was left in agony after she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish while swimming in at a “safe” Lanzarote beach.
Ingrid Kench said the sting felt like acid on her skin, and left her terrified that she might go into anaphylactic shock in the sea.
The 50-year-old was enjoying her last swim of 2019 at around 4pm on New Year’s Eve when she was stung .
Ingrid was 25 metres (82ft) out from Las Cucharas beach in in Costa Teguise when she saw a jellyfish around her.
Seconds later, the mum-of-two felt a searing pain across her midriff as venomous tentacles touched her skin.
Despite being a strong swimmer, Ingrid feared she might go into anaphylactic shock and knew she was out of her depth in the water.
Ingrid called to her youngest son Billy, 13, who was also in the water, and he was able to help her back to the safety of the beach.
She said: “The sting was like an intense burning pain like acid on my skin.
“My first thought was what happens if I go into anaphylactic shock as I was out of my depth. I called to my son and said I have to get out quick I’ve been stung.”
The maths teacher said Brits on the island should be aware of the danger because some might panic or go into shock if they are stung in the water.
She explained: “It would have been easy to be stung on [the] face as many swimmers were swimming under the water. With the size of the blister that forms, any good swimmer would experience difficulty.
“I swim a mile four times a week at home so consider myself a strong swimmer, but the pain is so intense, panic starts to take over.”
A green flag was flying on the beach where Ingrid was swimming, meaning it’s safe, but Ingrid was shocked to discover lifeguards were already collecting jellyfish that had washed ashore.
Ingrid said: “I only saw one jellyfish in the water, but I went to the lifeguards and they were at the waters’ edge and had already collected some more in a box.
“On New Year’s Day, lots more had washed up on the beach and near the swimming area.
“There are no warning signs when the lifeguards are off duty and only one small sign on a large beach when they are on duty. I was stung when the beach was flying a green flag to say it was safe.”
Ingrid, from Bridlington, East Yorks, said incredibly lifeguards told her to go back into the sea to wash the sting with saltwater.
Ingrid said: “Three lifeguards all told me to wash the sting with saltwater and told me to go back in the sea.
“I did not follow this advice as I was terrified of getting stung again. They told me to go to a pharmacy for medication… all this time I was getting very scared that I might develop anaphylactic shock.
“I had to make my own way back to the chemists. My son was brilliant keeping me calm and reassuring me. The hotel were brilliant at helping and giving good advice.”
How do you treat jellyfish sting?
According to the NHS, you should:
- Rinse the affected areas with seawater
- Remove any spines still attached to your skin with tweezers or the edge of a bank card
- Soak the area with very warm water for at least 30 minutes
- Take pain killers
And if you have been stung, don’t:
- Use vinegar to treat the wounds
- Pee on the sting
- Apply an ice pack
- Touch the spines with your bare hands
- Cover or close the wound
Lanzarote is one of the top winter sun destinations and is popular with Brit tourists.
But in July last year, authorities on the Spanish island banned tourists from entering the water at another beach because of a swarm of poisonous jellyfish.
Beaches in other parts of Spain were also closed due to jellyfish invasion last year.
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