Be alert but not alarmed. The Phuket Lifeguard Service are warning swimmers after blue-bottle ‘jellyfish’ that have recently been found on several of the island’s west-coast beaches and spotted along Patong Beach this morning (July 26).
“…found some Blue-bottles at Patong Beach and Nai Yang Beach. Swim Safe everyone,” the message reads from the Phuket Lifeguard Service Facebook page.
Blue-bottles are also known as Portuguese man o’ war. They are a common occurrence off Phuket’s west coast during the monsoon season. The ‘jellyfish’ are easily broken up by the south-west swell but their little ‘stingers’ still float around the water causing irritation.
Though rarely deadly, a bluebottle sting might be dangerous to children, elderly people, asthmatics and people with allergies, as it can cause fever, shock and respiratory distress.
Signs and symptoms from an acute sting can include searing pain, usually with a single raised white welt with a prominent ‘beading’ effect. Multiple welts may occur with mass stinging as the tentacle drags across your skin.
Blue-bottles are not actually a jellyfish but a ‘siphonophore’, a colony of thousands of tiny stinging jellyfish clumped together into one floating entity. You can avoid their stings by wearing a ‘stinger suit’ or shirts that are like ‘lycra’ that will prevent the stingers from scraping over your skin. You can buy them at many of the larger sports stores around Phuket.
You can read more about the treatment for stings at this Gizmodo article.
PHOTOS: Phuket Lifeguard Service
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