JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Bite

Jellyfish Bite picture

Jellyfish Bite

The jellyfish is a marine animal, and there are 200 different types of species, of this amazing creature. The body of the jellyfish is bell-shaped and has tentacles trailing from the underside of its body. The size of the jellyfish varies from the smallest being about a few centimeters in diameter, to the largest having a diameter of more than 2 meters. The jellyfish uses its tentacles to capture its prey, and these tentacles are able to inject toxins to immobilize the prey. The tentacles are covered with sacs called nematocysts, which have the venom in them. Jellyfish are basically non-aggressive creatures and the sting usually occurs when a person swims into them or accidentally touches them.

All stings of the jellyfish are quite painful and each type of jellyfish has a different potency of venom. The most deadly venom is of the Box Jellyfish or the Sea Wasp. The sting can cause death in minutes, unless you are able to administer the anti-venom serum in time. The sting is so powerful and painful, that victims are known to go into shock and drown, or die of heart failure even before reaching the shore. The box jellyfish is found in the coastal waters of North Australia and in most parts of the Indo-Pacific.

Fortunately the stings of other jellyfish are not fatal, but they do cause a lot of pain and burning sensations. Usually a person stung by a jellyfish will either have a rash or red raised welts on his skin. There will be intense stinging pain, and itching. Progressively the person might get nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and muscle spasms. There is a swelling of the lymph nodes as well. The severe reactions are difficulty in breathing and some may slip into a coma.

If a person is stung by a Box jellyfish, you should seek medical help and try to get the anti-venom serum immediately. As first-aid you can douse the affected area with vinegar, and make the person lie as still as possible. If the tentacles are still embedded in the person's flesh, then soak them for at least 10 minutes in vinegar and then remove them. You should never remove a tentacle with bare hands as you might get the sting, so always use a towel or tweezers to remove them. You can put pressure around the sting if it is on the arm or leg area. Also you have to be careful, not to stop the blood flow.

In cases of other jellyfish stings, soak the affected area in vinegar, for at least 15 to 30 minutes. The acetic acid in the vinegar, inhibits the nematocysts from releasing toxins. When vinegar is not accessible, it is best to rinse in seawater. Never use fresh water, as this will cause the nematocysts to keep releasing the toxins. Also you should not rub the affected area, instead you can apply a pack of ice or hot water. There is a gel called the Safe Sea Jellyfish After Sting, which is useful in relieving the pain.

Learn more about Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish Safety

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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