HEALTH CENTRE ADVISES ON MAN O' WAR STINGS

Islands' doctor John Garman has offered advice on what to do if stung by a Portuguese Man O' War.

Hundreds of the creatures have washed up on beaches around the Isles of Scilly in the last few weeks, leading to safety warnings from the Marine Conservation Society and Isles of Scilly IFCA. 

 

The advise is simple : do not touch or attempt to move them and ensure you keep an eye on children and animals around them.

Dr Garman said: "There are clearly lots of Portuguese Men 'O War around at the moment. The best advice is to avoid them, but just in case anybody does get stung, here is the official line on first aid:

 

1. Remaining tentacles should be lifted (NOT rubbed) off with a towel or stick. Do NOT rub with sand.

2. Rinse the wound with saline NOT fresh water.

 

3. Apply an ice-pack. This is an effective topical analgesic.

 

4. The use of topical treatments to inactivate unfired stinging cells (including alcohol, meat tenderisers and baking soda) is controversial, but unlikely to be of benefit. The application of vinegar is no longer recommended as this may initiate nematocyst firing

 

Apologies if number 4 sounds a little medical but the first three are the most important!

 

Obviously if you need further advice please contact the Minor Injuries Unit at the hospital."

Nikki Banfield of the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust spotted around 50 of the creatures on a morning walk on Wednesday.

She said: "The Portuguese Man O' War is definitely a look but don't touch type of beastie; or should I say group of beasties as it's a colony of four different types of creatures, not just one!  And yes, it's true it's not a jellyfish.

"They are fascinating; travelling in colonies, carried by the wind and currents and able to deflate and sink below the surface to protect themselves from bad weather or predators.  

"One really nice fact about them is that they can be 'right-handed' or 'left-handed', either sailing to the right of the wind or the left of the wind, so they won't all be washed ashore at any one time."

Pictures courtesy of Barefoot Photographer -  @BareFoot_IOS

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