Tips on how to treat jellyfish stings
Bermuda's first responders have been given some hands-on training about how to manage jellyfish stings.
David Wakely, a hyperbaric and diving medicine physician with the Bermuda Hospitals Board, trained more than 20 Marine Police officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers about how to best treat the burns and stings caused by jellyfish and Portuguese man o' war.
A BHB spokeswoman said: “In readiness for the surge in water activities the Bermuda Police Service requested the training to increase the awareness of marine first aid. They invited the members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment as well as staff from Medical House. The Medical House staff were present to learn what products the Emergency Department recommends victims use to treat their stings.
“According to Dr Wakely, most victims do not have to attend the hospital for treatment. Those who know what to do can treat themselves or others who know can help victims. He also advised that hospital treatment should be considered in the case of toddlers, the elderly, those with serious medical conditions, those who have been stung over large areas of their bodies or those who have been stung in sensitive areas like the face, mouth and groin.”
Those who do suffer a Portuguese man o' war sting are advised to:
• Keep bystanders away and, using gloves, look for the trailing stinger or tentacles;
• Remove the tentacles, along with the animal itself if still attached, and wash the affected area with seawater to wash away any tentacles;
• Then, cover the area with shaving foam, and scrape the foam off using a blunt spatula.
To inactivate the stingers, Dr Wakely recommends soaking the area in vinegar for five to ten minutes.
And to treat the pain, use hot packs on the affected area for 30 minutes and consider placing the victim under a shower or running water “as hot as tolerable”.