Jul 29, 2012

Why I Love Jellyfish but Hate the Sting

Just saw some jellyfish at Coron waters passing at CYC beach and chasing the small one, it was animated and scary but charming (huh?).

Jellyfish don't purposely attack humans, they are free-swimming, non-aggressive, gelatinous marine animals surrounded by tentacles. These tentacles are covered with sacs (nematocysts) that are filled with poison (venom) that can cause a painful to sometimes life-threatening sting. All jellyfish sting (small or big) even dead jellyfish, but the stings of small specimens and those with short tentacles often are not painful to humans. Most stings occur when people accidentally touch a jellyfish, but if the sting is from a dangerous species, it can be deadly (the Australian box-like sea wasp is the most toxic to humans). 
Here’s some information if you accidently stung by a jellyfish:
1. Stay safe. Do not swim in waters where large numbers of jellyfish have been reported. Wearing a wet suit can prevent stings.

2. Rinse the tentacles off. Soak or rinse the area in vinegar for 15-30 minutes to stop the nematocysts from releasing their toxins.

3. Peel of the tentacles. Remove tentacles with a stick or a pair of tweezers. Wear gloves if you have them available. Do not rub the area.

4. Shave. Apply shaving cream or a paste of baking soda to the area. Shave the area with a razor or credit card or shell to remove any adherent nematocysts.

5. Educate yourself. Know the type of jellyfish that may be in the waters in which you are swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

6. Be responsible. Do not touch any marine life while swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving.

7. Watch for anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction. CPR may be necessary for all stings if the person stops breathing and/or no longer has a pulse.

8. Seek medical advice immediately. When symptoms persist and become severe.

(Note: This post is based on researched by the blogger; always seek a medical professional advice. Dra. joen montalbo our “trail ailment” adviser.)

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