A local expert in treating jellyfish stings, and in particular those of the Portuguese Man-of-War variety, provided training to some first responders this month. Bermuda Hospitals Board’s (BHB) Dr David Wakely trained more than 20 Marine Police officers and Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers in the best way to treat burns and stings caused by Portuguese-Man-of-War. A BHB Emergency Medicine and Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine physician, Dr Wakely sees many cases of jellyfish stings, particularly in the spring and summer.

According to Dr. Wakely most victims do not have to attend the hospital for treatment. Those who know what to do can treat themselves, or others who know can help victims. He also advised that hospital treatment should be considered in the case of toddlers, the elderly, those with serious medical conditions, those who have been stung over large areas of their bodies or those who have been stung in sensitive areas like the face, mouth and groin.


What to do in the case of a Portuguese Man-of-War sting:

1) Safety First
– Use gloves
– Keep bystanders back
– Identify the main sail/body parts of the animal
– Look for trailing stinger/tentacles

2) Remove the Tentacles
– Remove main body of the animal from victim if still attached
– Wash affected area with seawater, to flush away any tentacles
– Cover area in shaving foam (stingers are now in the foam)
– Scrape foam off with blunt spatula

3) Inactivate the Stingers
– Soak the area in vinegar for 5 – 10 minutes
– Leave soaking for 5-10 minutes

4) Treat the Pain
– Place hot packs on affected area
– Consider putting victim in showers and running shower hot as tolerable
– Keep hot pack/shower on area for 30 minutes