A few years back, my wife and I decided to vacation in Cabo San Lucas and give a try at some marlin fishing. We brought along our 8 year old daughter, Michelle, with us as we intended it to be a family vacation. It was July and we were staying at a time share on the beach. During our visit, we had also planned on doing some scuba diving, snorkeling, sight seeing, etc. Well, things can happen that will certainly change your life in an instant.
We picked a beautiful day to pay a panga driver to take us out to the world famous archway and drop us off for some warm water snorkeling. He would return in three hours to pick us back up. This was my daughter's first time snorkeling and she was absolutely loving it. Now, we had noticed a few small jellyfish in the water, but as someone who had been scuba diving around the world in the US Navy for over 20 years, I never really feared jellyfish as I had been stung many times only for the stinging sensation to go away minutes later. Well, it didn't take long until Michelle got stung on her left hand and immediately start screaming. I told her it was OK, and the pain should go away in a few minutes. It didn't and she suddenly started gasping for air. At this point it was quite obvious she was having some kind of anaphylactic
reaction to the jellyfish's venom. My wife and I pulled her up onto the sandy beach, laid her down and flagged down a passing panga. As we waited for the panga to pull up to the beach, I looked around and saw dozens of these small "Medusa" jellyfish laying around. What I thought was unusual was the many beach goers that were relaxing, walking, wading and swimming on this same beach amongst the venomous jellyfish.
We got Michelle into the boat, again laid her down and had her relax her breathing as the boat quickly headed back into the harbor. They radioed ahead and had an ambulance waiting for us when we arrived at the docks. Once we were all loaded up, we were taken to the local hospital where Michelle spent the next 10 hours being treated for anaphylactic shock and acute respiratory arrest.
Some people can get stung by a bee and get a welt while others can die from anaphylactic shock and as a parent, I should have realized that I might have been putting my young daughter into a dangerous situation.
On a side note, we left Cabo a few days later and spent the next week in Mazatlan, where she went snorkeling again, albiet a little more wary of her surroundings. She does not fear the water, and once she hit 13, she got her scuba certification and now joins us for diving vacations including a Caribbean shark dive in St. Marten two years ago.