GEORGE TOWN: Applying urine on a jellyfish sting doesn’t remove the pain but may instead worsen the injury and trigger more venoms to be released, says an expert.
Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) marine biologist Datuk Dr Aileen Tan said studies found that pouring vinegar on the wound would be a better remedy as it could deactivate the venom released by the jellyfish.
“Usually after being stung by a jellyfish, its harpoon-like stingers called nematocysts will continue shooting out venom when triggered by touch, and it can penetrate the human skin.
“Studies have found that vinegar, which contains acetic acid, can prevent the release of more venom from the nematocysts,” she said at the “Emerging Jellyfish Threat” seminar at a resort in Batu Ferringhi yesterday.
“Once deactivated, the nematocysts can be safely removed without causing more harm.”
Dr Aileen, however, urged beachgoers and hotel operators not to panic.
“There is no sudden surge of jellyfish along the Penang coastline,” she said.
“The most common jellyfish we have in Penang is the Ribbon Jellyfish, which can be found in the sea all around the island and along the coast of Seberang Prai.
“They usually cause burns and rashes when in contact but do not cause life-threatening injuries,” she said, adding that her team of researchers discovered that Ribbon Jellyfish mostly emerged between March and May.
She also advised Penangites to keep the environment clean to reduce the growth, breeding and spread of the jellyfish in the sea.
“When we dispose garbage into the water, food wastes containing nutrients are washed into the sea.
“The nutrients not only promote the growth of the jellyfish population but also plankton, which makes up most of its diet,” said Dr Aileen, who is the head of USM Marine Ecology, Mariculture, Environmental Studies team.
Besides Dr Aileen, USM marine biologist Dr Zulfigar Yasin and Kuala Krai Hospital emergency and trauma unit chief Dr Mohd Shukrudden Salleh also spoke at the seminar.
Also present were Penang Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo and Penang Island City Council mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang.
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