HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 601: 01 February 2012

Jellyfish are back and stinging
On Saturday afternoon 28th of January at 3pm Louisa Rani went to the social centre at Nikao for a swim and minutes later, she was being rushed to hospital.
Louisa had the painful misfortune to be stung by a jellyfish. However, she was not alone in her suffering.
At the hospital she met two people who had also been stung at the same beach by what was thought to be a Pacific Man-O-War jellyfish or more commonly known in the Cook Islands as Blue Bottle or Vaa Toora.
At certain times of the year, mainly summer, the Blue Bottle Jellyfish find their way from ocean waters to the sandy shores of Rarotonga. Though the Man O’ War has no means of propulsion, it is moved by a combination of winds, currents, and tides. Although it can be found anywhere in the open ocean (especially warm water seas), it is most commonly found in the tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific and Indian oceans and in the northern Atlantic Gulf Stream though strong onshore winds may drive them onto beaches.
It is rare for only a single man o’ war to be found; the discovery of one usually indicates the presence of many, as they are usually congregated by currents and winds into groups of thousands. Given their sting, they must always be treated with caution, It can inflict stings when it is alive in the water or on the beach, or even when it is dead.
During the month of December 2011, the Hospital had reports of three cases, all cases were of children under 13years, and in the month of January two cases was reported involving a 6 year old and a woman in her forties.
Luckily the Ministry of Marine Resources say’s the Cook Islands is only ever to have recorded the presence of the Blue Bottle and none of its extended family like the box Jelly fish (Deadly Sea Wasp) whose venom is considered one of the most deadly in the world.
The best treatment for a man o’ war sting is:
• To avoid any further contact with the Portuguese man o’ war and to carefully remove any remnants of the creature from the skin (taking care not to touch them directly with fingers or any other part of the skin to avoid secondary stinging); then
• To apply salt water to the affected area (not fresh water, which tends to make the affected area worse)
• To follow up with the application of hot water (45 °C/113 °F) to the affected area, which eases the pain of a sting caused by the toxins.
• If eyes have been affected, to irrigate with copious amounts of room temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes, and if vision blurs or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or show light sensitivity after irrigating, or there is any concern, to see a doctor as soon as possible.
Vinegar is not recommended for treating stings. Vinegar dousing increases toxin delivery and worsens symptoms of stings from the nematocysts of this species. Vinegar has also been confirmed to provoke hemorrhaging when used on the less severe stings of nematocysts of smaller species. -Tiare Ponini

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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