Irish holidaymakers have been warned to be vigilant when visiting the beaches of Donegal, after a third dangerous jellyfish was found there in four weeks.
A giant lion’s mane jellyfish was discovered at the popular Downings beach before being removed under the guidance of Mulroy Coast Guard. Michelle Hay of Mulroy Coast Guard said one sting from this particular type of jellyfish can cause potentially deadly anaphylactic shock.
“There has just been one report so far on Downings Beach but there has been lots of reports along the coast of Donegal,” she said. “This type of jellyfish is very large and has long tentacles, and its stings can be extremely painful. Its stings can also cause anaphylactic shock.
“People that live along the coast are used to seeing these types of jellyfish but maybe people coming on day trips from Northern Ireland are not so used to it. The advice is to stay away from them and report any sightings to the Coast Guard.”
Normally the giant lion’s mane jellyfish tends to only be spotted along the north coast and Dublin, but has been more widespread this year, with sightings reported as far south as Kerry and Cork.
Treatment Meanwhile Galway scientists recently found that the age-old cure of treating jellyfish stings with urine was not the best remedy, stating that it would make a sting more painful. Instead they, and research collaborators from Hawaii, found that running to the nearest chip van may be more beneficial.
“It is often assumed that different types of jellyfish might need different treatments,” said Dr Tom Doyle from the National University of Ireland, Galway.
“Well, that was the old paradigm. What we, NUI Galway and University of Hawaii, have shown is that vinegar and hot water is the best treatment for three very different jellyfish that are as different from each other as a dog and a snake – the Lion’s Mane, the Portuguese Man of War and a Box jellyfish.”
It was previously advised that victims apply cold water after a jellyfish sting, but the new research found that hot water was better equipped to treat the problem. They found that vinegar was the best solution at rinsing the area and removing tentacles, before a heat pack applied to the affected area or immersed in warm water.
“This has implications for Ireland and the UK as current best practices recommend using sea water and cold packs,” said Dr Doyle.
“I hope to meet with the Jellyfish Advisory Group in the coming weeks to discuss our current protocol in light of our new findings.”