Published On: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2017

Alert: Portugese-man-of-war (type of stinging jellyfish) along Curacao’s leeward shore

16386925_1341761779215808_7378901858732122002_nWILLEMSTAD - Recently various people have reported unusual high numbers of portugese-man-of- war yellyfish near Curacao's shore. They're actually not "true" yellyfish, but siphonophores, i.e., a colony of organisms working together.

The man-of-war comprises four separate polyps. It gets its name from the uppermost polyp, a gas-filled bladder, or pneumatophore, which sits above the water and somewhat resembles an old warship at full sail. Man-of-wars are also known as bluebottles for the purple-blue color of their pneumatophores.

The tentacles are the man-of-war's second organism. These long, thin tendrils can extend 165 feet (50 meters) in length below the surface, although 30 feet (10 meters) is more the average. They are covered in venom-filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish and other small creatures. For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful, but rarely deadly.

What to do if you get stung?

1. Remove tentacles with a stick or something similar. Don’t touch or rub!
2. Rinse with salt water.
3. Go home if the pain is severe. The victim will likely be out of action for the afternoon.
4. Rinse affected area with hot water. This helps neutralize the poison.
5. Apply ice to help soothe the pain.
6. Take at least 3-5 Grams of Vitamin C. Vit-C is excellent at neutralizing toxin.
7. Crush vitamin C, baking soda and water to create a paste. Apply the paste to the affected areas to pull the poison from the stings.

The old vinegar treatment is no longer recommended. It’s said to work for jelly fish but may actually worsen this type of sting. The key to this treatment is the high dose of Vitamin C which we have found can stop all sorts of venom/toxin/poison in its tracks. Taking very large doses is safe, and you can spread it out to help with absorption. For example, 500mg every 15 minutes for several hours.

The above treatment seems to work quickly, usually taking about an hour for pain and symptoms to be reduced by 90%.

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