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Jellyfish Langkawi

China
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Jellyfish Langkawi

Jellyfish Langkawi

I just found out that a friend of my friends got stung by one of those dangerous jellyfish on langkawi.

I don't know all the details yet, but this woman died within a few minutes!

It's just plain horrible. And I'm just going there myself in a week, so i really appreciate the advise I got here,

Just wanted people to know that a fatal happening occurd!

Oslo, Norway
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21. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

The woman was dead minutes after being helped on shore. The friends could CPR and the ambulance was there to help with 15 minutes. She could not be revived, this according to the womans husband in our newspapers here in Norway.

Ranger Bob

Australia
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22. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

When a Box Jellyfish or Irukandji (the 1cm horrors that have stung many in Australia this season but caused no fatalities...and BTW no evidence of them in Malaysia though there is a big ?) is sighted on a beach, lifesavers in suits perform sampling where they sweep the water with a net for signs. The beach is normally closed for the day. When a sting or fatality occurs the beach is often closed for several days until sampling proves there is no threat. In high risk areas swimmers are confined to safety enclosure nets.

I know Malaysian scientists do sample from time to time for all types of jellyfish to see what's there but not aware of anything in place specifically for Box Jellyfish. Perhaps someone has seen them doing this near where the fatality occured? Are there signs on the beach warning of jellyfish and saying to keep out?

There was a situation on Koh Samui in 2002 when 2 people were killed on the one weekend but this was highly unusual. It's so remote that another serious sting would happen that in a few days when this settles down a bit it should be business as usual at the beach BUT if the report is correct and this was a Box Jellyfish (sounds very much like it was) then they are there to stay like they are at places like Koh Samui, Koh Chang region, Koh Lanta and the Phuket region, Sabah, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, north Australia, Hawaii, Carribean, etc.

You've just got to live with them. Chances are high that you won't get stung but stings will happen. If you're not concerned and think the risk is not great then you will most likely be fine but if you are concerned take a few very simple preventative measures as I've previously stated - take a bottle of vinegar to the beach (or insist that your restaurant/resort/bar on the beach/charter boat operator has some readily available), remember the basics of first aid for stings and wear a lycra body suit when in the water.

When the girl was killed at Koh Lanta in 2008 the place was deserted and the tourists went home. One year later it was packed, the water busy with kids splashing & running and the few warning signs put up by the local council had been vandalized and blacked out with paint possibly by concerned local businesses - there has not been a sting that I am aware of there since.

Langkawi
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868 posts
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23. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

It is not strange. It is the norm for tourist resort areas anywhere in the world, whether it is Langkawi or some ski resort in Europe. It's bad for business, so tourist deaths go unreported.

Already this thread has caused maybe a hundred people to stop swimming in the ocean.

Patrick

Langkawi
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24. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

Hi Patrick,

not only tourist deaths or accidents go unreported. Everything that could shed a negative light upon the dream island.

We have here in my estimation about one accident fatality every 3 days. Which is horrendous for the small place. People just don't look. (I had myself with the motorbike 3 such accidents. People just going on the other side of the road with no idea of looking back and similar). 3 days ago I was sitting in the Rest. Almaz in Cenang. A taxidriver moved his parked car to the other side of the stree - not looking. Motorbike full speed into it. It was a MIRACLE the boy was not dead. He just couldn't walk anymore...) Nobody ever hears anything about these things. And of course specially if it is a tourist... Just an other tourist dead on a motorbike near Datai about two weeks ago. Rolled over by a truck. Did anybody hear something about it? I happen to know somebody who works in the Datai....

And when I urged people to be very careful while driving - in my Langkawi gazette - the local authorities told me: " Is this really necessary to be mentioned?"....

Yes, it is. Be careful when driving and think that anybody can do anything on the street, completely unpredicted...

Mark

Oslo, Norway
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178 posts
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25. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

Thank you for your very informative posting. I have checked with some sources and they say very different ways of treating the victim? If it's a PMOW , not to use vinegar direct on the tenacles, but only on the burn .On box jellys, clean off tenacles with towel or bathing suit and then use vinegar. Do you have anything else about this?

When it comes to the panic and impact on a beach community, yes, it can be devastating.... We have over 1200 car accidents a year with moose here in Norway, with over 200 deaths. I still drive... I'll still swim.... I don't come to Asia to only watch the sunsets, but with caution.

Ranger Bob

Buckinghamshire...
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26. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

I have read a few 'how to treat box jelly fish sting' articles in the last few days ..... just incase and they seem to say:

- Usually the most important thing to do first is to inactivate the remaining stinging cells. This should be done by pouring normal vinegar over the tentacles (soak for at least 30 seconds). Only then can the tentacles be removed, otherwise you will cause more venom to be released.

- Also to use pressure bandages above and below the sting. [if you can't get two fingers under the bandage, it's too tight].

- Immobilize/splint the stung area and keep it at heart level [gravity-neutral] if possible. Too high causes venom to travel to the heart, too low causes more swelling.

- Weeing on it will not help!

Apparently there is a Irukandji jellyfish, I think that is Australian and its only about 1cm by 1cm by 1cm!

Alot of websites I've read recently also say that stings are not always fatal. It can depend on where you get stung, heart conditions etc etc. But still very scary! :-(

Having been stung by a Mediterranean Jelly, I know how painful that was, I can only imagine what a box jelly would feel like.

San Francisco
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27. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

My thoughts are with the woman's family - what a tragic end to a holiday. Unfortunate that there seems to be no official acknowledgement of this incident by the Malaysian authorities, nor the death of an Italian tourist at Seven wells on the 19th of jan 2010.

Did someone say there was a curse on the island?

phuketwan.com/tourism/…

Australia
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83 posts
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28. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

Firstly Ranger Bob I am astounded by those moose stats that I'm sure are legitimate but beg many questions though not right now.

I cannot stress just how important it is NOT to remove or rub or scrape Box Jellyfish tentacles. It can be the difference between life and death! The tentacles are like a booby trap and if touched will fire millions and millions of stinging cells into the skin faster than a bullet. I know because I did it once and only a miracle prevented my actions from causing a fatality. It is a natural instinct - get these bloody things off!

I have not read anywhere that vinegar was used in the instance of this poor woman and I fear that pulling the tentacles off just made the situation worse - though if enough tentacle had wrapped around her body then it probably would make no difference.

It is critical that vinegar be liberally poured on the sting immediately as suggested here by bgh for at least 30 seconds - this neutralizes the stinging cells instantly but does not inhibit the venom or reduce the pain.

That is why it is so important that beachside resorts and restaurants, boat charter owners and individuals have vinegar ready in a handy place just in case. That's why in Australia we have vinegar stations and poles right on the beach with first aid details attached. That's why in Australia families carry a bottle in the car and that's why kids learn this stuff early.

The jury's out on pressure bandages and such things because the Box Jellyfish venom moves more rapidly than any other - best to move the victim as quickly as possible to a safe place and medical assistance.

The venom is a cardiotoxin (and neurotoxin and derminecrotic toxin) that puts the heart in an irreversible contracted state within seconds or minutes at most.

The link to a previous thread I posted earlier goes into much detail about treatments but basically here is what Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin who knows more about these things than just about anyone recommends:

"The current recommendation from the Australian Resuscitation Council is (paraphrased):

1. For any known or suspected box jellyfish or Irukandji sting, use vinegar.

2. For any TROPICAL sting of unknown origin, use vinegar.

3. For CONFIRMED bluebottle stings OUTSIDE THE TROPICS, rinse well with seawater, then immerse in 45 degree C water for 20 minutes; if 45 degree C water for 20 minutes is unavailable or the temperature cannot be safely regulated, rinse well with seawater then use ice for the pain.

4. For unknown stings OUTSIDE THE TROPICS, rinse well with seawater then use ice for the pain.

In other words, in the tropics, use vinegar. For boxies and Irukandjis, use vinegar. In Thailand, use vinegar. Outside the tropics only use hot water if you know for sure it is a blue bottle (not because there's anything peculiar about blue bottles and hot water, just because the Australian bluebottle, Physalia utriculus, is highly unlikely to kill, and causes tens of thousands of stings per year along temperate Australian beaches)."

Physalia or bluebottle is the PMOW (man o war)

By the way, irukandji is stinging heaps of people across north Australia this summer but no fatalities, in fact, I understand there have only been 2 ever but its symptoms are confused with other things. Irukandji causes back pain so intense that many people have been known to beg medical staff to allow them to die. It also causes nausea, uncontrollable vomitting, profuse sweating and host of other nasties. I think an irukandji would be the least of your worries at Langkawi.

Chesterfield
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29. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

There seems to be many differing views on how to treat. Some say this and some say that, its all very confusing. Maybe its best to speak to your doctor and ask his/her advice.

Australia
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30. Re: Jellyfish Langkawi

With all due respect, QC, there is only one way to treat Box Jellyfish stings and I doubt whether your local GP in Chesterfield would have the foggiest.

I am not making it up and I have even provided a source - look up that name Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin on your browser (which is probably what your GP would do) and you will see that it is associated at the highest possible end of Box Jellyfish research. The woman did her PhD on Box Jellyfish envenomation!

Please don't be confused because it is simple and has been used in Australia where we have a Box Jellyfish problem - VINEGAR!

It is the acetic acid in vinegar that stops the stinging - nothing else does it not urine, not water, not meat tenderizer, not lime juice although Coca-Cola does have an element of the acid required but you need a truckload of it.

But let's keep it simple, VINEGAR VINEGAR VINEGAR.

1. Ensure area is safe and maintain life support (CPR if necessary)

2. Splash liberally the sting area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds DO NOT remove tentacles

3. Seek urgent medical attention

(tentacles can be carefully removed once vinegar has completed covering area)

Sorry but as I tried to explain before not doing this can make things worse and death can sometimes be avoided if proper first aid is done.

Try this website for first aid as these guys research the venom and work very closely with the jellyfish and marine biologists:

www.avru.org/general/general_boxjelly.html