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One of the world's biggest jellyfish has been spotted in Irish waters - but don't pee on it if you get stung

“As long as we’re careful, they need not be a danger.”
Aug 15th 2016, 7:24 PM 64,405 31

WE ALL KNOW the common wisdom that the only cure for a jellyfish sting is within you.

Literally.

However, with sightings of one of the world’s deadliest jellyfish around Ireland, it’s important to note that the common wisdom is all too common and not very wise.

The EPA and county councils have warned bathers that the lion’s mane jellyfish has been spotted off the coasts of Cork, Dublin and Galway.

While the larger of the species can be deadly, the ones found in Irish waters are comparatively small, says Pat Ó Suilleabhain of The National Sea Life Centre in Bray.

“Our waters are much too warm for the larger versions. You could find some with a bell (body) of two metres and tentacles up to 60 metres. But the ones here are much smaller.”

That size difference doesn’t mean that if you were to get stung, it wouldn’t hurt.

“The stings are quite painful. It can be irritating and blister and some people end up with muscle cramp. Respiratory and heart problems are very rare, though.

“The first thing you should do is rinse the sting with sea water. Peeing on it does absolutely nothing.

Then, apply a dry cold pack to the area – like ice cubes in a plastic bag wrapped in a t-shirt. If it doesn’t improve, then seek medical help.

While the jellyfish only have a lifespan of a year, dead ones can still sting, so Ó Suilleabhain recommends staying clear if you see one washed up on a beach.

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Ultimately, he says, avoiding stings is fairly simple.

“If you see one, swim away. The water is their natural habitat, not ours, but we’re much stronger swimmers.

“As long as we’re careful, they need not be a danger.”

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Paul Hosford

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