As the saying goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea. There are many deadly fish, such as great white sharks, tigerfish, and moray eels. However, one creature swims tentacles above the rest. This creature is the box jellyfish.
While other fish are capable of causing physical pain with their bites, jellyfish can deliver fatal venom through their tentacles. There are over 200 species of jellyfish throughout the world, with each of their stings having varying effects.
The box jellyfish sting, though, is the most dangerous one, and because of it, it has made it the most venomous marine mammal in the world.
Let’s learn more about this jellyfish and the effects of its deadly sting.
The Effects of a Box Jellyfish Sting
A Stinging Pain
When people come into contact with tentacles, they will first feel a stinging pain. Some people liken it to that of a bee. It is sharp and quick but not overly painful, at least initially. This pain can feel like a sting or a burning sensation.
Not long after, though, and with enough venom, the pain intensifies and begins to flood the area that has been stung.
One thing to note, though, is that the sting’s effects vary. This is wholly dependent on how much skin is affected by its venom. If it has reached just 10 percent of human skin, it could prove fatal.
Various skin symptoms begin to show in the location that has been stung. Apart from the burning and stinging pain, itching and swelling may occur.
Afterwards, the patch of skin will begin to change colour. It may turn red or purple. At the same time, a mark shaped like a tentacle will be left on the skin.
The only silver lining is that people will know just how much venom they have been afflicted with. The downside is that it doesn’t take much to be fatal.
If first aid is administered immediately, the sting brands will be left as permanent scars on the body.
People can develop something called Irukandji Syndrome two hours after this jellyfish sting without proper medical care. It is a condition that comes with more severe symptoms.
Body, Mind, and Heart Problems
For starters, people will feel significant pain in their muscles, joints, and all over the body. It is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, possibly amplified by intense pain.
People will also have headaches and cramps in various parts of the body. A common one is around the abdominal area.
Finally, people will have their blood pressure drop and cardiac arrhythmias. These are serious and, if not treated immediately, can ultimately result in death. It may trigger aneurysms and heart attacks to occur.
Death and Nerve Damage
In addition, pulmonary oedema, which is the accumulation of water in the lungs, and various cardiovascular consequences work together to cause deaths in people.
Even if you are lucky enough to receive treatment in time, the jellyfish sting will still leave behind some nasty effects. These include permanent scarring where the tentacles made contact with your skin. There is also the possibility of nerve damage leading to long-term pain.
Again, it must be stated that Irukandji syndrome is fatal. People must act quickly because the symptoms start developing in just half an hour or less and can ramp up quickly.
Treatment for a Box Jellyfish Sting
Get Out of the Water
If stung by a box jellyfish, people need to act quickly. The first thing you need to do is get the person out of the water. At the same time, warn other people in the water and get them to come out.
Remove the Tentacles
Next, you’ll want to remove the tentacles from your skin. This is easier said than done, as the tentacles will stick to your skin. You will need to use something like tweezers to pull them off.
Apart from this, a credit card can also be used to scrape the tentacles off. Apply a small amount of pressure to remove the tentacles. More pressure may release more toxins into the body.
Cleanse the Area with Vinegar or Salt Water
Many people believe in the urban myth that urine should be applied to the stung area. This only makes things worse. In reality, the area must be rinsed off with vinegar. Apply it to the area for half a minute.
Many stations near where box jellyfish reside will usually have a vinegar solution for stings. However, if they do not, use salt water to cleanse the area. Things like fresh water, alcohol, and ice can only worsen things. It may elicit more toxins to come out and flood the body.
Seek Medical Attention
The final step is to seek medical attention. Once attention is given, the patient may be given antivenom, medication for pain, and other medicines for symptoms that may arise.
Box jellyfish stings are nothing to scoff at. The stinging truth is that they are incredibly dangerous and can cause death in minutes. It is essential to be vigilant whenever swimming in box jellyfish waters.
Hopefully, awareness of how severe these stings are, what they look like, and what to do if stung will prepare you for any unfortunate jellyfish occurrences.
With the right skills, you can be of more help to people stung by box jellyfish. With how fast the venom acts, the proper first aid practices can tip the scales towards potentially saving a life.
Take CPR First Aid’s Liverpool courses to learn important life-saving skills today.