Warmer weather has washed up what for many will be some rather less than welcome visitors to Alderney’s bays – jelly fish and Weeverfish.
Dr Sally Simmons – an accomplished diver – encountered some this wildlife while snorkelling at Corblets this weekend. Afterwards she issued some useful first aid advice.
The two most common types of jellyfish you’ll see in the bays are Compass and Blue Jellyfish.
The Compass jellyfish – so named because of the distinct brown radial pattern on their bell that resembles a compass – feeds on small fish, crustaceans and even other jellyfish. Compass jellyfish can deliver a sting comparable to that of a bee. Like other jelly fish they often leave the tentacle on your skin. The Blue Jellyfish can also issue a mild sting.
Dr Sally said:
‘First aid for jellyfish stings is rinsing with vinegar or hot water. Of course people rarely take vinegar or hot water to the beach but it’s worth thinking about with more people swimming now.
‘The nematocysts in jellyfish stings can continue to fire off even when they are dead so don’t pick them off with bare hands. Use tweezers And there is no truth that peeing on them helps the pain. You just smell of wee.’
She also advised people to be alert to the presence of Weeverfish, which hide in the sand in shallow water. Weeverfish are about 15cm long and have venomous spines along the dorsal fin. If you stand on them, their dorsal fin embeds into your foot and injects venom which can cause excruciating pain.
They like shallow water and are so well camouflaged that many people do not see them until they have stepped on them. Usually they like depths of between four to 10 metres but they spawn in shallow water between June and August which is why they may be more of a problem at the moment.
‘First aid for Weeverfish stings – remove the spines and then immerse the affected area in as hot a water as you can bear, 40 degrees C being advised. Wear sandals or thick wet suit bootees to avoid the risk.’