Preparing For The Worse In The Open Water - Jellyfish Stings

Preparing For The Worse In The Open Water – Jellyfish Stings

If you are planning a marathon swim or a channel swim where there may be jellyfish or Portuguese man o war, it is always good to prepare for the worse. Getting stung for the first time in a channel swim is never pleasant and always a shock.

While everyone handles jellyfish and Portuguese man o war stings differently, swims in Bermuda, Florida or in the Caribbean may be a good preparation for what you can expect psychologically and physiologically.

In a 2010 race in Bermuda, there were significant stings caused by box jellyfish and sea urchins. Some stings resulted in severe muscle spasms that required medical intervention.

The race Medical Director also used Ocean Care Solutions. “There were significant jellyfish stings treated on site that we identified as box jellyfish. There were minor Sea Urchin spine injuries, and two coral abrasions that required cleaning. I was very impressed with the kits and wished we had more. When the kits were first applied, the 5% acetic acid relief spray increased the pain sharply for a brief interval, but then provided injury and pain relief from the box stinger. Next time, we recommend the saline rinse and straight to the heat pack first.”

Dr. Patrick Daubert and Dr. Scott H Plantz prepared this presentation (and here) on stings by the Chironex fleckeri, one of the most toxic jellyfish in the world.

In Dr. Daubert’s study, he writes, “Patients initially develop severe pain despite removal of the tentacle.

It is most certainly not a pleasant thought or a welcomed experience, but knowing how a jellyfish stings feels and, most importantly, how you react is certainly better done during practice or on a preliminary swim than on your day in the channel.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones