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Stuart Stuart with Michelle Blackley at the Absolute in Patong

Patong Tourist Tells of Sharp Jellyfish Sting

Friday, July 17, 2009
AN AUSTRALIAN tourist has suffered what appears to be a painful jellyfish sting while swimming off Patong.

Photos of the welt from the sting indicate it was probably a small Portuguese Man o' War rather than a potentially deadly box jellyfish.

The visitor, Stuart Stuart, of Melbourne, was able to have the sting treated quickly because a nearby resort had a supply of vinegar ready.

''When I told the locals they were very surprised at what had happened because they had never heard of this happening there before,'' Mr Stuart said.

''But it was only a couple of weeks ago and its very vivid in my memory.''

Mr Stuart, 38, was staying at the Absolute Sea Pearl Resort with his girlfriend, Michelle Blackley, 25.

''We were swimming about 10 metres off shore, directly opposite the Absolute. There were no other swimmers in that location at the time.

''I initially felt a small sting and then the much larger sting on my right ankle. As soon as I felt the sting I swam back to shore, went across to staff at the Sea Pearl and asked for vinegar, which I applied.

''I then wrapped my ankle in ice and sat down, raising my leg. The sting took an hour to subside and I felt the tingling tracking up my leg during this time.

''I had made a decision that if the tingling and sting had got to my knee I was going to apply a compression bandage and go to hospital but the sting stopped before my knee.

''I kept the wound clean but had no problems with it since. In the last two days, the sting area has swollen slightly and become itchy but with no discomfort.''

A colony of immature box jellyfish was discovered last year on Phuket's east coast. Marine biologists believe the popular west coast beaches of Phuket, which include Patong, Karon, Kamala and Kata, are not a suitable habitat for the box jellyfish.

But other species of jellyfish and the Man o' War have been noted in increasing numbers in the region, although reports of serious stings remain rare.

Coastal resorts and beach rescue services have been advised to keep vinegar with first aid kits because it remains the only known treatment to reduce the toxicity of jellyfish stings.

A worldwide increase in numbers of jellyfish is being reported.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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There should be nets protecting all beaches from nefarious jellyfish (said to take a cut from hospitals ;-)

Posted by Balance on July 17, 2009 23:20

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Perhaps he should not ignore the red flags. Was it Phuket Wan who determined from the photo that it appeared to be a Portuguese man o' war?

Editor: Man o' war is the conclusion of an experienced observer but one without formal scientific qualifications. We figured it was best to inform readers while awaiting the experts' conclusions.

Posted by VFaye on July 18, 2009 11:08

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I had a sting last year on my foot and ankle in Khao Lak that looked identical, but larger, than Mr Stuart's. He should be aware that four weeks later, after it had almost disappeared, it suddenly flared up and then took ages to go away. I can still see the tentacle tracks now!

Posted by dimitri on July 18, 2009 13:55


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