JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Warning

Jellyfish Warning picture

Jellyfish Warning

Jellyfish is an amazing marine animal that inhabits most of the saline waters of the world. It is found in coastal waters as well as in deep seas. There are 200 different types of jellyfish, out of which 70 types are considered to have a poisonous sting. The jellyfish immobilises its prey by injecting a toxin through its tentacles. The potency of the toxin is different, in the different types of jellyfish. Some may cause a mild discomfort in humans while some may prove to be fatal. The sting of certain jellyfish is very painful and the discomfort can last for many days. The sting of the box jellyfish is fatal and many stings can cause death within seconds.

Many people all over the world are bitten by jellyfish every day, when they go swimming in the sea. Coast guards and the media, give warnings when the jellyfish are sighted or when someone is badly stung. Sometimes no proper warning is given and it ends in tragedy or someone gets badly hurt. There is a broadcast on the Australian radio which tells such a story. Andrew Jones relates that when he took his family to Thailand, they were warned about terrorism and political unrest, but nowhere were they warned about jellyfish stings. When he and his four year old son were swimming off a small beach in Thailand, the boy was stung by a box jellyfish. The boy went into cardiac and respiratory arrest, but was luckily saved by a person who had the presence of mind to throw vinegar on the affected parts immediately. The boy was then given medical attention and rushed to the hospital and saved. Andrew Jones tried to raise awareness but was met with resistance from many tourist operators. The importance of a warning is very clear from this incident.

Since 1954 a total of 5,567 deaths have been attributed to stings from the box jellyfish or the sea wasp. The box jellyfish is the most deadly or all the varieties of jellyfish and the government of a country immediately issues a warning whenever these jellies are sighted. In Thailand the box jellyfish is usually not found, but in 2002 at Phangan island in the Gulf of Thailand the first death by bow jellyfish sting, was recorded. More recently another death also was attributed to this, in Krabi on the Andaman Sea coast. The Marine and Coastal Resources Department of Thailand, has now given a warning to all tourists, visiting beach resorts, that the highly venomous box jellyfish was discovered off Phi Phi Island and the Krabi province in southern Thailand.

In May 2002 in Honolulu, the city's Ocean Safety Division issued a box jellyfish warning. Sightings were reported at Ala Moana Beach Park, and at the Waikiki beach there was one confirmed sting. There were 42 jellyfish found in the pond areas of the Kapahulu area.

Apart from broadcasting in the media like the radio, newspapers and television, the warnings are also put up on posters in the affected areas. The coast guards also help in spreading the news and warn people off the beaches.

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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