With most of the fatal box jellyfish stings in Thailand over the past decade in Koh Samui and Koh Phangan, representatives from 20 hotels attended a lecture at the Hive Hotel on Koh Samui to learn about preventing and treating stings from box jellyfish, known as one of the most venomous marine animals in the world. By providing the knowledge to hotel staff, Professor Lakkhana Thaikrua hopes tourists who come to the island can learn how to protect themselves against box jellyfish stings and feel more confident at the beach.
Since 2002, 10 people in Thailand have died from box jellyfish poisoning, nine of those were stung in the waters of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Last August, a 9 year old Israeli boy died from a box jellyfish sting on Koh Phangan.
Professor Lakkhana Thaikrua from the Department of Medicine at Chiang Mai University gave a lecture and a first aid demonstration of how to treat box jellyfish stings yesterday at the Hive Hotel on Lamai beach. The hotel representatives can take their knowledge away and pass it on to hotel staff and tourists who come to stay, which hopefully will reduce the total number of box jellyfish stings and prevent stings that do occur from turning fatal.
The Department of Marine Coastal Resources conducted a survey of poisonous jellyfish from 2009 to the present along the Andaman Coast and the Gulf of Thailand, covering 23 provinces of Thailand. The survey found two types of fire jellyfish, one type of bottle jellyfish and six types of box jellyfish.
Preventing box jellyfish stings
Hotels received warning signs in four different languages and ‘vinegar stations’ which will be installed at the beaches of every hotel. Here are the professor’s tips on how to avoid box jellyfish stings…
- It is rare to encounter box jellyfish when it is windy, so that’s the best time to go swimming in the sea.
- If the waves are calm or it has recently rained, it is more likely to encounter box jellyfish and it is not recommended to swim.
- Many beaches have jellyfish prevention nets, so make sure to swim inside the net.
- Wear a wetsuit as an extra layer of protection.
Treating box jellyfish stings
The professor gave a demonstration on how to help someone injured from a box jellyfish sting. If someone gets stung, this is what to do…
- Call an ambulance.
- Pour vinegar over the wound as quickly as possible and for at least 30 seconds.
- Do not rub the wound.
- Do not put sand, seawater, drinking water or seaweed on the wound because it accelerates the rate the venom enters the body.
- If the person loses consciousness, perform CPR immediately, before applying vinegar.
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