The Costa del Sol here in Spain boasts some of the best beaches in the world which are visited by millions of people each year. The beaches here are relatively safe yet this year we have been visited by some unwelcome guests, of the gelatinous kind.
In recent weeks there has been quite a lot of press about swarms of the "Mauve Stinger" Jellyfish visiting our shores. Measuring up to three metres in length, this particular species can pack quite a punch with their stings causing severe pain and discomfort for its victims. In some cases their stings can cause allergic reactions or even heart failure, although this is quite a rare occurrence.
Experts have stated that the recent increase in numbers may be caused by an increase in the seas temperature. Others believe that over fishing of the waters are to blame with a decline in natural predators such as swordfish, turtles and tuna.
Many beaches have flags which indicate whether the threat of Jellyfish is likely. Make sure that you check before going into the water.
Jellyfish quite often get washed up on shore. Be particular aware of inquisitive children touching them as this will cause them to get stung.
How To Treat Jellyfish Stings
1. Try to keep the patient calm.
2. Do not rub affected area with a towel as this will make things worse.
3. Wash the area that has been affected with sea water or vinegar. Do not use still water as this may exacerbate things. Vinegar is particularly good as the acid neutralises the nematocysts (sacs that are stuck to the skin) and prevents them from discharging. Make sure that you soak the wound for around 15 – 30 minutes.
4. Remove any remaining tentacles using tweezers or something clean such as a credit card. If you remove with your fingers, make sure you are wearing gloves.
5. Apply cold to the wound using ice wrapped in a towel. This will help to relieve the discomfort.
6. If the patient is feeling dizzy or has an allergic response, please seek medical help immediately.