Just as the peak spring travel season in Los Cabos is starting to wind down, a new visitor has washed up on the shores of the most popular beaches in the area.
It’s an unwelcome guest that tourists need to be aware of before getting into the water.
What the locals refer to as “bad water” started hitting some of the most popular beaches in Los Cabos over the Easter weekend.
The term does not refer to water that was contaminated by issues like raw sewage. Instead, the bad water term refers to the presence of uncomfortable microorganisms in the water that makes it an unpleasant experience for local and visiting swimmers alike.
The microorganisms appear in the ocean water a couple of times a year when seasonal blooms occur. They are toxic marine organisms that can cause unpleasant itchiness and potentially respiratory issues in swimmers.
Swimmers noted that there was a large concentration of these animals, causing issues on El Cosario and El Médano beaches.
These are two very popular tourist destination beaches in Los Cabos. El Médano beach alone is considered the center of tourist activity in Los Cabos.
What Are They?
The tiny microorganisms referred to as agua mala are actually small jellyfish in the water. They don’t pack the same sting as the big adult jellyfish, but they can definitely make their presence known in a smaller way with swimming tourists.
Immediately the lifeguards at the popular El Cosario and El Médano beaches put out white flags to warn swimmers of the risk of agua mala, or small jellyfish, in the ocean water.
While tourists are not forbidden to swim when jellyfish are present in the water, most choose to refrain because the large jellyfish can cause significant injuries, and the little ones are just plain annoying and uncomfortable.
Nonetheless, several tourists and locals disregarded the advice of the local lifeguards and decided to ignore the white flag advisory and took to the water in search of adventure anyway.
Needless to say, they were not pleased with the swimming experience.
First Aid Treatment
Visitors stung by the tiny jellyfish in an agua mala swarm should immediately exit the water and see first aid treatment.
While the first instinct may be to rub the affected area to soothe the injury, it is actually the worst thing for a tourist to do in this type of situation.
Rubbing the injury can actually activate inactive jellyfish stingers and cause the injury to spread and worsen. It also pushes the barbs further into the skin, which makes it even more uncomfortable for the victim.
Instead, the affected visitor should immediately seek lifeguard care for first aid treatment. Despite rumors, do not urinate on the affected area.
The swimmer should be monitored for potential allergic reactions to the sting, such as breathing issues and hives.
While it is recommended that a tourist proceed to the local clinic or emergency room after being stung during an agua mala incident, they must definitely visit a doctor if an allergic reaction is suspected.
How to Remain Safe
The best way for Los Cabos tourists to stay safe during an agua mala jellyfish bloom is to respect the posting of the white flag at the beach and avoid the water.
If a visitor is unsure about the meaning of the flag or how bad the conditions actually are in the water, the lifeguards can provide additional advice and clarification about the agua mala bloom.
Usually, the agua mala bloom is limited to a beach or two, and other beaches are available for visitors to enjoy a resort destination beach vacation while avoiding the risk of being stung by small jellyfish present in the ocean water.
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