The entire east coast of Malta has been invaded by carpets of jellyfish. Large numbers of mauve stingers are being reported in localities such as Marsascala, Xgħajra, Msida and Bahar iċ-Ċagħaq.
The mauve stingers (Pelagia noctiluca) are being washed up on shores, with boat ramps and shorelines full of the jellyfish and environmentalists showing concern over this early bloom.
“I had sort of predicted this last January when we experienced a long dry and warm spell back: that the major mauve stinger bloom this year would come early and would be of larger proportions most probably,” said Alan Deideun, an environmentalist who reported the jellyfish appearance.
The mauve stingers enter Maltese seas practically every summer. When the waters become warmer, the jellyfish float up to the surface and hurry to reproduce.
Their offspring will eventually turn into a medusa after about six weeks, at which point they will become harmful to adults and children.
- In the case of the Mauve Stinger, the following advice is given:-
- Carefully rinse with seawater, do not rub the affected area.
- If available, apply a mixture of seawater and baking soda (1:1 ratio) for two minutes. This will stop any further release of venom from the stinging cells left on the skin.
- Use a plastic credit card to remove any residual tentacles and excess baking soda mixture
- Apply cold packs for 5-15 minutes. For example, use a bag of ice or even cold drink wrapped in a cloth.
- Assess the degree of pain and reapply cold pack if required for further 5 mins
- If pain persists, consult a doctor or pharmacist who should prescribe painkillers and/or anti-inflammatory creams e.g. 3-4% Lidocaine and Hydrocortisone.
- DO NOT wrap in bandages nor use vinegar, fresh water, alcohol and ammonia, all of which can aggravate the situation further.