THE medical emergency service 061, belonging to the Balearic Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, yesterday published a list of recommendations directed at the general public advising what action they should take if they are stung by a jellyfish. They have taken this action because of the proliferation of these creatures around the Balearic coastline during this Summer season.
This department recommends following a total of seven guidelines to correctly treat the wound which the jellyfish leaves on the skin after injecting poison into the bloodstream through its tentacles.
Firstly, it advises people to treat the affected area with alcohol.
This is to get rid of any parts of the jellyfish tentacles which may have stuck to the skin.
Next, they suggest cleaning the wound with sea water and, if it is at all possible, heating this water to the maximum temperature which the affected person can stand. After that, the Ministry recommends the use of a common antiseptic and, in addition to this, using cotton or cotton wool with a 50 percent solution of ammonia or vinegar. They also say that anti histamine or anti inflammatory cream could be used on the wound.
After some time has elapsed, during which the affected person should rest, a gel to reduce the inflammation can be used although, before doing this, heat should be applied to destroy the poison. Finally, the 061 service offers preventative advice which could be very practical, such as always taking a 5 percent solution of acetic acid or vinegar to the beach, not touching parts of jellyfish which can be found on the beach, and never scratching the wound if you are stung. In addition to this the Ministry reminded people that fresh water helps the action of jellyfish stings, so they advise never to use fresh water to clean the wound.
They also advise not to apply compresses or substances which will stop the remains of the jellyfish drying up.
And you should always advise your doctor as to whether or not you have had an anti tetanus injection.
Yesterday, medical sources in Majorca said that, so far, they have not treated any more cases than normal but are aware of the warning and are prepared to handle a sudden increase in jellyfish stings.
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