Unwelcome jellyfish arriving early this season
June 8, 2009 20:32
Magen David Adom: Large concentrations of the invertebrates sighted heading towards Israel, should arrive "any day."
Jellyfish - those repulsive bluish-white creatures that "shoot" cells with chemicals at their prey and into the sea - are due to arrive off Israel's coast very soon, and earlier than usual.
Magen David Adom reported Monday that large concentrations of the invertebrates have been sighted heading towards Israel and should arrive "any day."
According to scientists, jellyfish are the most widespread, efficient and "clever" predators in the animal world. They don't even need to be in direct contact with their prey to cause stings and burns, as the toxic cells they release into the water cause harm.
However, while a jellyfish can kill smaller creatures in the sea, it usually is not dangerous to humans. If you are stung, head for the beach and wash the skin with vinegar, which neutralizes the alkaloid toxin. If you have not taken a bottle of vinegar along with you to the beach, use salt water - but never use tap water, as it makes the skin burns worse. Also, avoid rubbing the site with sand, as this will make the toxic cells explode. After using vinegar, one can wash the area with regular tap water and soap.
If the sting causes serious pain or respiratory difficulties (which is rare), call Magen David Adom at 101 to evacuate the victim to a medical facility.
MDA advises taking a small bottle of vinegar with you to the beach during jellyfish season - along with a bottle of sunscreen as well to minimize the extra risk of sunburn.
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