5 Excuses Not to Travel and 2 Reasons Why You Really Should

Whether you dream of exploring the Alps, finding the prettiest, most secluded beach in the world or just taking a weekend away with the family, it often feels like there are more reasons NOT to go than TO go.

Turners Beach, Antigua

Have you found yourself weighing the reasons to go or not to go on vacation, or have you ever felt that because of your life circumstances that you will NEVER get to experience some of the wonderful locations you read about or see on the web? Have you ever heard the saying that if you wait for just the right time to get married or just the right time to have a baby or just the right time to see the world that it may never happen?

Yes,  there are certainly good reasons to consider. Being a single parent, not having a stable job, health reasons, taking care of a parent or other family member, etc., are all very valid (and responsible!) reasons to consider putting off a vacation – but should you let it hold you back forever?

Here are 5 of the excuses we hear the most when someone talks to us about wishing they could take a well deserved getaway:

1. It’s too expensive.

Yes, it can be – especially if you have champagne tastes and a beer budget, but if you really would like to experience something you’ve always dreamed about, here are a few tips.
a. Look for vacations closer to home. Do you long for time in the sun on a beautiful beach? Check out coastal regions close to home. It may not be Bora Bora, but just walking in the warm sand while enjoying the sunshine and a cool beverage may be just what the doctor ordered.
b. Take a long weekend instead of a week or longer.
c. Search the web (or talk to a travel agent) about destinations that are not as popular, but still beautiful. The more popular a location, the more likely it will be pricey.
d. Start saving your pennies now. It may take a while to save up for that time away, but if it’s important to you – start now!

2. Flying has become too complicated.

Flying has become a bit more difficult with baggage fees, overbooking and crowded flights – but, if you want to vacation in a destination that you can’t drive, or take a bus or train to, you may have to board that plane. A few tips:

a. If you like to fly with a specific airline, look into getting a credit card with that airline that not only builds points when you use the card to book your travel on that airline, but will offer you a free baggage allowance on flights billed on the card.
b. Book your flights for days and times that are usually less busy. Although there’s no doubt that flights we’ve been on lately have been more full, we usually find mid-week flights not only less busy, but sometimes a bit cheaper. Busiest days to fly (besides the holidays)? Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
c. If you haven’t already spent every last dollar, consider upgrading to a priority seat that offers more legroom. We struggled with this for a long time, but now make sure to leave room in the budget for this little luxury – especially on longer flights.

3. It’s too short.

We’ve been there. You work hard and save all year for that well deserved vacation and suddenly it’s there – and then it’s gone. Tip:

a. Instead of one long vacation, take a few shorter trips per year. Even if they’re not all at a 5 star resort, just getting away can be exciting.

4. I’m too scared to go to a foreign country.

You’re not alone. Even seasoned travelers may feel some angst about language barriers, customs and food when considering travel to a foreign country. Tips?

a. Look into locations that are more like the country you’re familiar with. If you’re a US citizen and you want to go to a beautiful tropical location without too many surprises, there are many to choose from. Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St. Croix, St. John and Hawaii are either part of the US or US territories and, for now at least, don’t require a passport!
b. Research a location that is part of a different country. You can glean so much information on different travel destinations today that can help you decide to go, or not to go to a particular location. Find out what other travelers have reported about their travel there to decide if it’s right for you.

5. I’m to young or to old or to single to travel.

Although understandable concerns, age, marital status or physical disabilities should not preclude you from experiencing travel! Tips?

a. Find a travel agent that can find a vacation to suit your needs. In recent years, there are resorts and locations that absolutely cater to senior travel, solo travel and accessible travel – so you can find the vacation and location that really appeals to you. If you have a special need or request – don’t be afraid to ask!

Sandy Cay, BVI

 Now that we’ve discussed the 5 top Excuses Not to Travel and given you a few tips on how to overcome those hurdles, here are a 2 Reasons Why You Absolutely Should:

1. Life Is Short.
If you want to see some of the world, start making plans to do it now. Even if you start small by taking a day to go hiking or a weekend to check out a National Park near you – do it soon! Don’t wait until the “time is right”.

2. Experiencing Something Outside of Your Daily Life Can Be Enriching, Invigorating and Life Changing.
We all get stuck in a rut from time-to-time, but taking time away from the grind of daily life makes us grow as people. We may learn more about others, learn to appreciate the beauty around us, and learn to appreciate what we have.

Sunset in Cane Garden Bay, BVI

Do you have other travel tips to share? Tell us about them!

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Health Benefits of Walking On The Beach

As a follow up to our article,Health Benefits of Spending Time In Or Near the Ocean“, we thought we’d also highlight some of the health benefits of walking on the beach.

To us, walking on a gorgeous beach while on vacation is not work – it’s something we really look forward to and “gasp”, it may actually be beneficial to our health! How?

The Health Benefits of Walking On the Beach - copyright Rum Therapy
1. Sand is a natural exfoliant
Sand is rather coarse (yes, even sugar-soft sand!) and when walking on the beach, especially in moist sand, you are naturally exfoliating some of the skin on your feet. Be sure to follow up your walk with a nice coating of moisturizer to maximize the effect!

2. Walking barefoot on the beach can be “grounding”
There is an emerging science that claims walking barefoot on our electron-enriched earth (especially when humid or wet), will increase an individuals balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and possibly decrease inflammation. (see more on Grounding here)

3. It’s good exercise for your calves and feet
Because sand is soft and you sink into it as you walk, you’ll be using more of the muscles in your calves and feet, giving them a better workout than walking on a hard surface.

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4. It’s relaxing and peaceful
The sound of the waves lapping the shore, seagulls calling, the sunshine gently caressing your face, ahhh… Many people report that they find walking on the beach to be quite relaxing, restorative and good for the ol’ blood pressure.

The Health Benefits of Walking On the Beach - copyright Rum Therapy

5. It burns more calories
A good walk on the beach can burn up to 50% more calories than walking on a hard surface, which can help with the fitness goals, especially if you like to enjoy a tropical beverage or two. One Pina Colada can contain a whopping 600+ calories so be sure to leave a bunch of footprints in the sand to keep rockin’ that beach bod!

Do you know of other health benefits of walking on the beach? Tell us about them!

Find more Tropical Tips here:
Tropical Tips & More

To see more island posts, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Sunday Serenity: Beach Meditation

Feeling a bit stressed today? Close your eyes for a minute and imagine this…

Warm sunshine on your skin and the only sound is waves gently lapping the shore. Ahhh…better?

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Manjack Cay, The Abacos

Perhaps the reason that the ocean helps us to de-stress and unwind is that there are actual health benefits to spending time in and near the ocean. You weren’t just imagining that your last beach vacation made you feel better!

But did you know that you can still harness some of that relaxing energy when you get back from vacation? Just enjoy a little beach meditation. When needed, just take a moment, close your eyes and imagine yourself on a warm, deserted beach. Even the thought of time spent on a sandy beach in the sunshine can bring our heart rate down.

Do you have a favorite beach that you think of when you have a moment of beach meditation? Where?

Find more Sunday Serenity posts here:
Tropical Tips & More

To see more island posts, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Health Benefits of Spending Time in or Near the Ocean

If you are followers of our blog, you probably feel the same way we do; saltwater can soothe your soul. But did you know that in addition to it’s soothing qualities, spending time in or near the ocean can also provide other health benefits? Let’s explore a few reasons why we usually come home from a beach vacation feeling invigorated and renewed.

Lets start with the senses. The blues and greens of the ocean and the tropics are cool and relaxing colors. It is even said that certain hues of blue (especially light blues) can cause physical reactions such as a decrease in respiration and blood pressure.

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The nose and ears can also identify and respond with a feeling of tranquility to the smell of saltwater and the gentle sound of the waves lapping the shore…

And what about the effect of saltwater on the body and its organs? I’ve seen several articles report that seawater has a similar composition to our blood plasma. Our bodies can easily assimilate the bounties of the water of the ocean such as vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, amino acids and living microorganisms which secrete antibiotic, bacteriostatic and hormonal substances with biological balancing effects. (Health Benefits of Sea Bathing – Pacific Naturopathic

Bathing or swimming in warm seawater activates the body’s healing mechanisms to fight conditions such as asthma, arthritis, bronchitis and inflammatory diseases, as well as common aches and pains. Magnesium-rich seawater purportedly can also relax your muscles, reduce stress and help induce sleep. (What are the Health Benefits of Swimming in the Ocean – Livestrong)

ManJack-Cay - copyright Rum Therapy
And even if you don’t get in the water, getting misted by sea spray can give your skin a dose of iodine (good for the thyroid gland) and negative ions which can strengthen the body’s immunological defense mechanisms.

We weren’t just imagining our response to our tropical escapes – there are actual benefits and physiological responses to the sea. So, next time you’re feeling your batteries  running low – let the ocean be your medication and head south for some sun, warm water and a little salt water therapy!

Find more Tropical Tips here:
Tropical Tips & More

To see more island posts, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

The Chikungunya Virus

Dominican-Republic-Beach---O
As we prepare for a trip to the tropics, we’re seeing alarming reports of a Chickungunya “epidemic” in some areas. Will that prevent us from taking this highly anticipated trek to the islands – even though our next destination is on the CDC list of Caribbean countries that have reported cases of Chickengunya? Heck no. But we certainly are prepared to take steps to prevent being infected with this virus transmitted by mosquitoes.

Currently there are no vaccines to prevent getting Chickungunya, so it’s extremely important to avoid mosquito bites. How? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Wear clothing that covers arms, legs and neck.

2. Use insect repellant and re-apply often. The CDC recommends using products with DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (we’ve loaded up on this product as we like to try the more natural options –
Repel 94109 Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent, 4-Ounce Pump Spray)
3. If possible, stay in screened and/or air conditioned rooms or use a bed net.


Find a few more “repellant” ideas here:
The Fight Against The Bite

If you’re planning a trip to the tropics soon, just prepare – be safe and have fun!

Find more Tropical Tips & More

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Is An All-Inclusive Caribbean Vacation Right For You?

Is an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation the right choice for you?

Barcelo-Maya-Resort,-Mexico---OLobby of the Barcelo Maya, Riviera Maya, Mexico

With more and more all-inclusive resorts being built or re-modeled into all-inclusives in many Caribbean destinations, we’re receiving more inquiries from our readers on whether an all-inclusive resort would be a good vacation choice for them. After all, vacation dollars are hard to come by and no matter what your vacation budget, you want to choose the best accommodation for you and your family.

Dominican-Republic-Beach - copyright Rum TherapyBeach at the Hark Rock Hotel, Punta Cana

We enjoy staying in all types of accommodations during our Caribbean travels from cruise ships to catamarans, high end resorts to budget resorts, villas to condos, etc., and, all-inclusive resorts. We’ve had the pleasure of enjoying quite a few all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Antigua and even one in St. Croix. So, how do we decide whether or not to stay at an all-inclusive? What are some things to consider prior to booking?

The first thing to know right off the bat is that all all-inclusives are not equal and all-inclusives are not available everywhere. As with other resorts, all-inclusives range from budget to very high end and everywhere in between. Do your research, ask your friends, look at on-line reviews, call the resort with questions and then enjoy what can be a wonderful stress-free vacation! All-inclusive resorts can be an excellent value for the money and an easy way to budget vacation dollars by including all of your meals, drinks and entertainment in one price!

Caribbean-Lobster-at-the-Divi---OCaribbean Lobster dinner at the Divi Carina Resort, St. Croix

 Here are some things to consider when exploring all-inclusive options:

1. Are you a foodie? Be sure to look for the all-inclusives that offer a wide range of dining options, including fine dining. Some offer buffet dining only, but many offer dining at several themed and very nice restaurants on site. In addition to premium dining experiences, some resorts also offer or include premium wine & other liquor options.

copyright Rum TherapySome of the water-sports included at Jewel Runaway Bay, Jamaica

2. Do you just want to relax at the resort all week? Look for a resort that offers the amenities you desire, i.e., a great beach, good swimming pools, golf, tennis, water-sports, nightly entertainment, etc.

copyright Rum TherapySunset by the pool at Jewel Runaway Bay Resort, Jamaica

Hard-Rock-Pool---OOne of the many pools at the Hard Rock Resort, Punta Cana

3. Want to explore the island outside of your resort? Look for a resort that offers good excursion packages, or if you’re like us and like to see what you want without traveling in a larger group, choose a resort that is in good proximity to the sights you want to explore.

4. Want to enjoy some pampering at the spa? Many resorts offer spa services (most at an additional cost) such as a wide range of massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, etc., and some have over-the-top spa facilities offering some of the finest pampering around.

5. Is the resort family-friendly or adult only? There are some terrific all-inclusives that cater to the young ‘uns with resort attractions (lazy rivers, waterslides, kiddie pools), entertainment and dining options. If you’re traveling without children, you may want to opt for an adult-only resorts that offer amenities,  dining options and entertainment geared more for the grown-ups.

copyright Rum TherapyWaterslide at the Beaches Resort, Negril, Jamaica

5. Pricing. There are all-inclusive resorts geared for the budget minded all the way to luxury all-inclusives, and there can be a huge difference in amenities and level of services. If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t require a lot of services or amenities, you might opt for the less expensive resorts. If you want to be completely pampered, there are resorts that can offer that to you, at a higher price, of course. Again, just do your research to make sure there are very few surprises when you arrive.

Divi-Resort-Coffee---OEnjoying coffee on the deck at Divi Carina Resort, St. Croix

6. Transfers. Does the accommodation provide transfers to the facility? This is not a big deal in some cases, but if you will have to travel quite a distance from the airport and are not renting a car, having transfers included in your package can be a big bonus.

copyright Rum TherapyOne of the beautiful and comfortable rooms at the Beaches Resort, Negril, Jamaica

7. Last, but certainly not least – your room. Again, there can be a BIG difference in the rooms provided at all-inclusives – as with other resorts. What are the rooms amenities? Does it include a decent sized safe? Is there a mini-bar (usually included in the price) or refrigerator? In room hot tub? Is it located in a good area of the resort? (Check to see if there is a map of the rooms on the website) Is it size that will comfortably accommodate your party? Is the bed size guaranteed? If you can’t find this information on the website, you might try to call the resort to see.

Hard-Rock-Room---OIn room Hydro Spa at the Hard Rock Hotel, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Negril-Sunset---ONegril Sunset from a cabana at Beaches Resort

Have you enjoyed vacationing at an all-inclusive resort? What did you like the most about it?

To see more posts on Caribbean islands and travel, check out our Island Blog Directory

For helpful travel hints, check out our posts in Tropical Tips & More

Copyright©Rum Therapy
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Holiday Gifts for Island & Rum Lovers!

Have a few island & rum lovers on your Holiday list this year? Or are you a rum & island lover that would like to request a gift that you’d enjoy? Either way, we have a few gifts that are worthy of those on your “nice” list!


2014 Rum Therapy Calendar

12 gorgeous Caribbean Beach Pictures and
12 scrumptious rum drinks with recipes!
Stay in a tropical frame of mind year-round with this excellent gift – just $18.95!

copyright Rum Therapy

RUMHUGGERS!
Keep those frosty concoctions cold and your fingers dry with these “slap” Koozies. Molds right around your favorite cocktail, bottle or can! Get one, or a Party Pack of 4!

copyright Rum Therapy

TEE IN A RUM BOTTLE!
Well, not a real rum bottle, but this 100% cotton pre-shrunk Rum Therapy Just Limin’ Tee is compressed into the shape of a rum bottle, making it an excellent gift or stocking stuffer!

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MEN’S ISLAND TEES
and
WOMEN’S ISLAND TEES

What’s your favorite island? Where have you enjoyed a little Rum Therapy? Choose a super comfortable tee with one of our island designs to wear at home, on your next island adventure – or anytime you need a little “tropication”!

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CURES WHAT AILS YA CAPS
Distressed, pigment dyed, ladies styles, mesh back, visors & more! With all of the options, you’re sure to find the perfect Rum Therapy Cap for you!

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Want to see more? Be sure to check out the Rum Therapy Store, grab your favorite rum drink and get your holiday shopping done fast and easy!

While you’re at it, check out our Blog Directory by Island for ideas of what to see and do on your next Island Adventure and our Rum Recipes!

And if you haven’t already be sure to JOIN us on Facebook  for a daily dose of island fun!

Tropical Vacation Packing List

As we prepare for an upcoming tropical trip, I started putting together a packing list – again. Then I thought it might be nice to have a sort of standard list that I could just print off each time and add to depending on the destination. The following is just that – a basic tropical vacation packing list. Just the general stuff here – you’ll need to add your own jammies and undies (if needed!), but this should cover some of the basics.

Are we missing anything vital? Let us know!

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Basic Packing List for a Tropical Vacation
Swimsuits
Cover Ups
Tees
Shorts
Light Jacket
Cap or Visor
Sandals
Water Shoes
Other Clothing as Needed

 

Beach Bag or Backpack
(we use a SwissGear Blue Ibex 17″ Computer Backpack, 15″L x 10″W x 19″H)
Flask

Sunglasses
Towel
Sunscreen
After sun care – Aloe Vera
Lip care with sunscreen
Insect Repellant
Motion sickness medication
Pain Relievers
Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lotion or moisturizer, makeup, razor, fingernail files, brush, comb, hair accessories, etc…..

 

Beach Playlist
iPod
Waterproof Music Player
Cell Phone
Cameras
Memory Cards
Electronic Chargers
Extra batteries, if needed
Snorkel Equipment
Reading material
Deck of cards
Water bottle
Snacks

 

Passports and copies
Other ID
Credit Cards
Cash
Insurance cards
Itinerary
Reservation confirmations and phone numbers
Maps and guides
Small First Aid Kit
Travel Pillow
Earplugs
Emergency Contact List


Check here for Tropical Tips & More

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

An Olympus Waterproof Camera

We’re the type of travelers that like to have the convenience of taking a pic wherever we feel there could be a good photo (like while floating in the beautiful Caribbean water!) but, we don’t want to be trekking through the islands with lots of heavy and expensive equipment. So, when we recently broke the camera housing for our point and shoot camera, we started to research possibilities for a new camera – one that didn’t have to be placed in a separate housing unit.

After reading some reviews and spending some time at the electronics store, we ended up purchasing an Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera.

We’re not saying this is THE BEST waterproof camera out there – we haven’t had an opportunity to try many of the others, but we thought we’d tell you of our experience with this one, in case you’re doing some research on a new waterproof camera of your own.

What we like:

1. No camera housing. Seems really strange to just walk into the water with your camera without adding any housing or protection of any kind, but you can with this one!

copyright Rum Therapy
2. Fast shutter speed. The regular setting is fairly fast, and if you set it to the sport setting, you can take numerous shots in rapid succession – perfect when you’re trying to capture that barracuda swimming by…

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3. Large viewfinder. Good for making sure you’ve got that cool turtle in the shot.

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4. Picture clarity. As long as the lens doesn’t have any water spots, the photos are very clear!

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copyright Rum Therapy
5. It has a rechargeable battery and it seems that the battery keeps a charge for fairly long, which helps when you want to spend LOTS of time in the beautiful water.

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The camera also has video capabilities, but we haven’t had the chance to try that feature out yet. The camera is waterproof to 40 ft., shockproof and sturdy. So far, we really don’t have any complaints.

The bad news? The Olympus TG-1iHS seems to have been discontinued. The good news? It’s been replaced with an updated version – the Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) which looks to have the same great features as its predecessor and according to the specs, is now waterproof to a level of 5o ft! And – at a price of  $379.oo seems to be slightly lower than what we paid for the TG-1.

Do you have the Olympus TG-1 or TG-2? If so, what are your thoughts on its performance? Or – do you have another waterproof camera that you would recommend?

Relieving the Zing of a Jellyfish Sting

Do you love spending time in the ocean, swimming, floating, wading, surfing, etc? Well, we certainly do, but sometimes we’re reminded that we are guests in that vast blue expanse and need to respect – and be careful of some of the native ocean inhabitants.
copyright Rum TherapyWhile floating in a particularly beautiful area in the Caribbean recently, I suddenly felt a piercing sting on my upper left arm. I immediately stood up and moved – happy that I was in a shallow enough area to do so, and saw a jellyfish floating in the water next to me.
I immediately exited the water and sat down on the beach to survey the damage. The stinging was intense and not having experienced this phenomena before, I was uncertain of what to do. After asking some locals for advise, I was able to relieve the pain and aside from a week or so of red welts on my arm, came out of it absolutely fine.

Jelly Sting - copyrightWill this occurrence prevent me from floating in the ocean ever again? Heck no! I will, however, know how to treat a sting in the unlikely event that I, or one of my travel mates ever experience it again.

So what is the best way to treat a jellyfish sting? I’m sure we’ve all heard our share of suggestions for treating a sting. First of all, realize that most jellyfish stings are not dangerous, but some do cause intense pain. If, however,the person stung begins to experience any symptoms of a severe allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, hives, chest tightness or a change in level of consciousness, promptly seek emergency attention. You should also seek immediate medical attention if you know the sting was from a Portuguese Man O’ War or a Box Jellyfish (Sea Wasp) as these stings are extremely dangerous and may require anti-venom.

The current recommendations for treatment of a sting (other than a Box Jellyfish, Sea Wasp or Potuguese Man O’ War) appear to be the following:
If you, or someone you know are stung,

1. Get out of the water immediately.

2. Stop the stinging:
a. Rinse the sting area with hot water or saltwater to remove the tentacles. Don’t use freshwater as it can cause the stinging cells (nematocysts) that haven’t fired yet to release their venom.
b. Inactivate the toxin by flooding the area with vinegar or using a baking soda paste. If vinegar or baking soda paste are not available, you might try diluted ammonia, unseasoned meat tenderizer or papaya, although there are some that say these substances don’t do much at all to neutralize the toxins. Urine is no longer recommended due to the possibility of causing a bacterial infection.
c. Remove any remaining tentacles by applying shaving cream or a paste of mud, sand and seawater and scrape area with a razor or credit card, or pull them off with tweezers. Do not attempt to remove the tentacles with your fingers as they can continue to release venom.
d. Apply more hot water or vinegar.

3. Treat the swelling and pain.
An oral antihistamine or a cream with lidocaine may help with the itching and swelling.

Be sure to seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or the individual displays any signs of an anaphylactic or allergic reaction.

Are there any ways to prevent getting stung by a jellyfish?
1. Pay attention to any warnings of jellyfish in the area and do a little research on times of the year when more jellyfish may be present in the area you are going to visit.
2. Cover up while swimming or snorkeling with a wet suit or long sleeved Lycra swim shirt. Clothing may not totally protect you from getting stung, but should protect a larger area of skin.
3. Try a product called Safe Sea Lotion which purports to protect the skin from jellyfish stings as well as sea lice and even fire coral.

The likelihood of experiencing a problem with a jellyfish while enjoying the waters of the Caribbean is quite low. You are much more likely to experience the sting of a bad sunburn – so don’t let the fear of the jelly prevent you from getting your toes in the water!

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC