JellyFish Facts

Man of War Jellyfish Sting

Man of War Jellyfish Sting picture

Man of War Jellyfish Sting

The Man of War jellyfish is also known as the bluebottle, blue bubble and the Portuguese Man of War. Due to its jelly-like body it is taken to be a jellyfish, although it is not so. In fact it cannot even be considered to be one animal, as there is a colony of medusoids and polyps living in a physiologically integrated mass. This amazing creature has a bladder of air on top, which helps it to float on the water. It does not have any form of propulsion and can just float on the water or sink by deflating its bladder. This bladder acts as a sail and can stick out 15 cms above the surface of the water. Another feature of the man of war which makes it similar to a jellyfish, are its long tentacles. They can extend to about 30 feet beneath the surface of the water and are armed with stinger cells called nematocysts, which are filled with venom.

The man of war jellyfish sting is extremely painful and can last for more than an hour. If the venom reaches the lymph nodes in the body, then the pain can become even more severe. The skin will start to rise in welts where the man of war has stung and can also develop a serious rash. The welts can also get filled with a fluid. The red lesion will be according to the shape where the tentacles have touched the skin.

The toxicity of the venom rarely causes death, but there have been recorded cases where the sting had proved fatal. This can be also due to the fact that the man of war jellyfish sting causes severe allergic reactions in a person whose immune response is low. The sting can cause the heart and lungs to malfunction, and the person can go into shock. Raging fever is also one of the symptoms of a man of war jellyfish sting.

The sting of the man of war should not be taken as a jellyfish sting, because vinegar which is a neutralizer for jellyfish venom, can worsen the sting of a man of war. The only immediate first aid one can give is to rinse the area first with sea water and then bathe the area of skin in hot or warm water to relieve the pain. The stinger cells which are still embeded in the skin should be carefully taken out, without using bare fingers as they can still sting. If there is a severe reaction to the man of war jellyfish sting, medical help should be immediately sought as it can lead to further complications if left unattended.

The signs of the worsening effect of the sting is a red streak appearing from the stung area extending up to the lymph nodes which are swollen. The rash also can worsen and the person will feel more sick.

Another interesting feature of the man of war is that its tentacle retains its stinging capacity for more than a week even when its severed from the body or even after the creature is dead.

Learn more about Jellyfish, Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish Species

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Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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