Forget shark attacks, snake bites, or bear mauling for a while. A jellyfish may look cute on water but when you are not familiar of its varieties, it may cause some venomous sting when you touch one. And you would wish you hadn’t come near the ocean.
The Australian box jellyfish is among the most venomous animals in the world, and the deadliest at sea. They are found all over the world in warm coastal waters, with some lethal varieties present in northern Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. They are light blue in color and have a maximum weight of 2 kg. They can move by themselves without any help from current thereby making them the most advanced species of jellyfish. They move quickly up to 4 knots through the water. Their sting leave scars on the skin.
Chiropsalmus quadrigatus is the smaller version of the box jellyfish, also called Chironex fleckeri. They are found along the Western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. They hunt for fishes using only their tentacles. The worst thing it can cause to a human being when it touches the skin is cardiac failure.
The Lion mane’s jellyfish is the huge species of all jellyfishes. As the largest jellyfish ever known, they can grow to as much as 35 meters and weigh as much as for 500 pounds. They are found in the cold waters of the Arctic, United Kingdom, North Atlantic, and even in the Australian coastal areas. A painful, red mark on your skin results from a sting of this type of jellyfish. An immediate call for medical treatment in the hospital is also required if symptoms from the sting kind of jellyfish get worse.
In most healthy individuals, a jellyfish sting may not be fatal. The worst they can do is cause temporary pain and localized redness. However, there are instances where in unhealthy individuals such as those with skin allergies or asthma, absence of first aid treatment may be deadly.
So do we do first aid on jellyfish sting?
- Take the person out of the water.
- If you are on cold waters, remove the stingers left on the skin with seawater alone. Wash even further to deactivate stinging cells. It also helps to scrape the skin with a credit card or any type of plastic object. However if you got stung on tropical waters, washing the area with vinegar or baking soda solution helps deactivate the stinging cells quicker; but applying this solution on cold waters will make symptoms worse.
- Apply a mild hydrocortisone cream on the affected skin area, or take an oral antihistamine to avoid itching and swelling.
- If symptoms persist, go to the hospital, especially if the jellyfish involved is the box jellyfish where anti-venom will be administered.
So the next time you go on that beach trip, don’t forget to bring the following! Be a boy scout or girl scout– always ready!!! You will never know!
- Vinegar or Baking soda (if you are going on tropical seas)
- Plastic card
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Oral antihistamine