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Box Jellyfish

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Appendix A: First Aid Case and Kits, Dressings, and Bandages
Appendix B: Rescue and Transportation Procedures
Appendix C: Common Problems/Conditions
Appendix D: Digital Pressure
Appendix E: Decontamination Procedures
Appendix F: Glossary


The box jellyfish are usually transparent and may be a very pale blue in color. They are cubed in shape, with four distinct sides. Each side has approximately 15 tentacles, with approximately 5000 nematocysts, which are the little stinging cells located on their tentacles. Box jellyfish are commonly found on the northern shores of Australia, and often appear after a local rain. Their stings can be lethal.

Venom

Unless treated immediately, a sting from a box jellyfish is lethal. Never place alcohol on the stingers. Vinegar or white vinegar is best poured over the tentacles to deactivate the venom. If anti-venom is unavailable, make sure you immobilize the limb and try to deactivate the stinging cells with vinegar. Transport immediately to the nearest emergency room.

Sidebar: From 1883, when the first reported death by box jellyfish was reported in Australia, through January, 2000, 68% of individuals stung by box jellyfish died from their stings.

Healthcare Provider - Medical Treatment
For box jelly fish stings, there is an anti-venom that was developed by the Australian Commonwealth Serum laboratories. However, many emergency rooms do not have this anti-venom. Of those that do, approximately 20,000 units may be sufficient to control the effects of a moderate sting to adults. It can be increased all the way to 100,000 units. Local anesthetics, topical Lidocaine gel can be helpful, and steroid applications are also beneficial. Morphine and Demerol in incremental doses can help prevent shock. It is important to note if there needs to be resuscitation, after that has been successfully performed, there has been some benefit in using 10 mg. of intravenous Valium. Caution must be used, since this does have a side effect of respiratory depression. Reassurance should be given to the patient. They should also be told that after 7-10 days, there may be some skin tissue death and ulceration at the area. These can take anywhere from 3 weeks to one month to completely resolve.

 

Reference:

Edmonds, Carl, Field Guide for Medical Treatment, Dangerous Marine Creatures.




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