Jellyfish stings

Sladden, Christopher , Seymour, Jamie, and Sladden, Michael (2013) Jellyfish stings. In: Lebwohl, Mark , Heymann, Warren , Berth-Jones, John , and Coulson, Ian , (eds.) Treatment of Skin Disease: comprehensive therapeutic strategies. Elsevier, Amsterdam, Netherlands, pp. 338-340.

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Jellyfish are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which consists of five classes: Cubozoa (box jellyfish), Hydrozoa (Portuguese manof-war), Schyphozoa (true jellyfish), Staurozoa (staromedusans),and Anthozoans (corals). They are found in every ocean and some fresh water, from the surface to the depths of the seas. They often consist of a bell shaped body, ranging from 1 millimeter to over 2 meters in diameter, with tentacles up to 30 meters in length. Many have complex life cycles, usually with both a sexual and an asexual stage, often with a sessile polyp stage and a motile medusal stage.

Jellyfish envenomings can occur during recreational and commercial pursuits, both in the water and when encountering living or dead animals on the shore. Jellyfish sting their prey using nematocysts, stinging structures located in specialized cells called cnidocytes. Contact with a jellyfish tentacle can trigger millions of nematocysts to pierce the skin and inject venom. Those providing care to sting victims should avoid being stung by adherent tentacles on the victim; however, the risk of the carer being envenomed is minimal.

The severity of jellyfish stings depends on the species of jellyfish involved, its age and geographic location, the location of the nematocysts involved (bell or tentacle) and factors such as patient age and general health, amount of skin involved, and number of nematocysts triggered. Understanding the complexity of jellyfish venom is still in its infancy.

Most jellyfish stings are self-limiting, causing localized pain and skin lesions. However, symptoms can range from local discomfort, to severe pain, through to cardiovascular collapse and death. Immediate management of jellyfish stings occurs at the beach with first aid and resuscitation, and then if needed in hospital. Immediate cutaneous reactions include wheals, blisters, and angioedema. Dermatologists are most likely to become involved later to manage the delayed sequelae of jellyfish stings.

In this chapter we will discuss the most important type of jellyfish stings, the different symptoms and management of these stings, as well as strategies for prevention of jellyfish stings.

Item ID: 46528
Item Type: Book Chapter (Reference)
ISBN: 978-0-7020-5235-4
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2017 04:52
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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