If you aren’t aware of or haven’t heard of the Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, they are a potentially dangerous jellyfish that appear on beaches during summer time. Unfortunately the sting from the Lion’s Mane jellyfish can cause anaphylactic shock and there have been a number of people hospitalised as a result. Read on to find out more about these venomous creatures and what to watch our for at the beach:
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At a time of year when many of us are visiting the beach more for family day trips, warnings about Lion’s Mane jellyfish, Weever Fish and other creatures that can spoil the fun are important to be aware of.
If you see a Lion’s Mane jellyfish you should report your sighting to the relevant Local Authority Water Safety Development Officer.
What is a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish?
The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish is also known as the giant jellyfish and is the largest known species of jellyfish.
It has distinctive tentacles, that resemble a lion’s mane and can grow up to 2 metres in diameter.
The ones found at our beaches are likely to be much smaller, but can still measure up to 50cm in diameter.
With over 1,000 tentacles that can stretch up to 4-5 metres in length, a bad sting from this creature can cause severe local reactions and extreme pain.
Where Have They Been Spotted?
These jellyfish are commonly found in Irish and UK waters.
The National Poisons Information Centre has once again issued a warning about Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, due to an increased number of sightings along Ireland’s east coast:
Always Heed Jellyfish Warnings from Lifeguards
If possible, it’s best to swim at lifeguarded waterways (a list of which is available at www.iws.ie), because lifeguards ensure your safety on our beaches and when on duty will be patrolling on their surf rescue boards to ensure that jellyfish do not pose a threat to members of the public.
If you do intend on using non-lifeguarded beaches then it’s recommended that you download information on jellyfish, including a photo ID card of different jellyfish including the Lion’s Mane and to remind yourself of the First Aid treatment of stings.
How to Treat a Jellyfish Sting
While there is specific information on how to treat a sting from a Lion’s Mane Jellyfish above, general tips include:
- Ensure you don’t get stung yourself when aiding others.
- Remove any attached tentacles with a gloved hand, stick, or towel. If none of these are available, use your fingertips.
- Do not rub the affected area as this may result in further venom release.
- Rinse the affected area copiously with sea water. Do not use fresh water, vinegar, alcohol or urine.
- Apply a ‘dry cold pack’ to the area, i.e. place a cold pack or ice inside a plastic bag and then wrap this package in a t-shirt or other piece of cloth.
- Seek medical attention if there is anything other than minor discomfort.
- If the patient is suffering from swelling, breathing difficulties, palpitations or chest tightness then transfer to the nearest emergency department urgently.
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