Jellyfish stings usually are mild but can be painful. Meat tenderizer or a paste made of tenderizer and ammonia also will neutralize the toxins. Apply very warm water and hydrocortisone. Watch for signs of shock: difficulty in breathing, cold, clammy, sweaty skin, fainting or nausea. If these symptoms develop, seek medical attention immediately.
The Portuguese Man-o-War is distinguished by a beautiful, bright blue color. It appears as a harmless “blue bubble” lying on the beach, but it is a member of the jellyfish family and contains a very poisonous toxin. Avoid stepping on the man-o-war or trying to puncture its sac.
Catfish can be dangerous, whether you hook one while fishing or find one along the shoreline. Catfish spines are poisonous. You will need a tetanus shot if a catfish spine punctures your skin. Once your skin has been punctured be prepared for acute pain, swelling and nausea. Without treatment you may go into shock.
Snakes are not uncommon on the Gulf Coast. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical help immediately.
Biting flies and “no see-ums” are pesky natives of this area. They are more of an annoyance than a serious problem. A good insect repellent will keep most bugs away. If an insect causes a reaction, use an ice pack to reduce swelling. However, should red streaks start to appear, consult a physician.