The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in Bicol (BFAR-5) has reminded the public to always check with local authorities or residents about any potential dangers before swimming or diving in unfamiliar waters, after the reported proliferation of ‘salabay’ or box jellyfish in the seawaters off Garchitorena and Caramoan towns in Camarines Sur. Rowena Briones, officer in charge of BFAR-5 information unit, said in an interview on Thursday they recommend wearing protective clothing and avoiding prolonged swimming during daytime when jellyfish are known to be more active. “For first aid, when stung by jellyfish, the public is advised to rinse the affected area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds. Vinegar can help neutralize the toxins from the jellyfish and prevent further stinging,” the agency said in a statement. Also recommended were removing any tentacles with tweezers or gloves to prevent further stinging; soaking the affected area in hot water for 20 to 45 minutes, or as long as tolerable; applying a topical cream or ointment, such as hydrocortisone or lidocaine to relieve itching and pain; and taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to further relieve pain and reduce swelling. “It is important to avoid rubbing the affected area, applying freshwater, or using ice as these can worsen the sting and release more toxins,” the advisory added. Seeking immediate medical attention is also advised if the victim displays symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, nausea or chest pain and also if the victim is unaware of the type of jellyfish and if the sting occurred in a sensitive area such as the face or genitals.
Source: Philippines News Agency