This is how you will protect yourself from the severe burns: In recent days, quite a few Israelis have been injured by a jellyfish burn. At the Dana emergency room in Tel Aviv, 10 children who were injured by jellyfish burns were treated within three days, three of them even hospitalized. While this sounds like something common that happens every summer, this year emergency rooms reported more severe than usual jellyfish injuries. “The children came with very severe burns that turned into chemical burns,” said Prof. Miguel Geltstein, director of the toxicology service and a senior pediatric emergency physician at Dana Hospital.

Three of the children who were injured by the jellyfish even needed to be hospitalized with fear of internal injuries, for another child the fever rose markedly within a few minutes, which indicated “internal destruction throughout the body”. “We gave them heat treatment, and body inflammation and gave them fluids and ointments for burns. They recovered and were released to their home,” Prof. Geltstein said, adding that he recommends “not entering the water at this time when the sea is infested with jellyfish. It is dangerous.”

Jellyfish are invertebrate gelatinous animals that live in saline water. They are made of a central bell and arms that detach easily from the bell body. Scattered along the arms are nematocysts from which toxin is secreted for hunting fish and mollusks from which the jellyfish feed, and sometimes they come in contact with humans. Nematocysts may continue to secrete toxins even when the jellyfish is already dead or the arm has become detached from the body.

Jellyfish in Tel Aviv (Photo: Avshalom Shashoni)

After contact of this toxin secreted from the jellyfish arms with the skin, it penetrates into the body and reaches the bloodstream. Therefore, the body’s response may be in the form of a local skin burn or a systemic reaction of the body. The response to a jellyfish burn can vary according to the type of jellyfish, the individual sensitivity of the person being burned, the time of exposure, the area of ​​skin exposed and the treatment given immediately upon exposure.

Usually the burn will be manifested by redness on the skin surface and skin swelling, but in rarer cases it will cause severe pain, systemic reaction and even death (although the jellyfish in our area are milder, so you can relax a bit). The best treatment, as with any disease, is prevention. Just try to hold back a little longer until they continue to their next destination.

It should be noted that every year the reactions to jellyfish burns are aggravated. This could be due to an increase in the amount of jellyfish, more severe allergic reactions, or the burns are the same severity and we just hear more about them than before.

Jellyfish (Photo: Uri Lenz, Flash 90)Jellyfish (Photo: Uri Lenz, Flash 90)

So what to do after a jellyfish burn?

With salt water, remove the remnants of the arms over the burned skin and rinse the area with warm water for about 20 minutes (it is important to make sure that they do not boil). It is very important to rinse with warm water and not with vinegar, shaving foam or urine, as some have previously recommended. If there is no hot water in the area, put ice in a dry bag over the affected area.

If you suffer from more severe symptoms than a little redness on the skin, you should go to the emergency room as soon as possible for medical treatment. In exceptional cases where there is an extreme reaction manifested by shortness of breath, swelling of the lips, hoarseness, nausea and vomiting, muscle cramps or burning in the eye and mouth area – an ambulance should be called immediately.

Jellyfish bite (Photo: Ichilov Hospital spokeswoman)Jellyfish bite (Photo: Ichilov Hospital spokeswoman)

By Editor

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