Portuguese Salad Dressing

While filming in the waters of Cocos my father was stung by a Portuguese man of war. I was obviously pretty worried since we were 300 miles from anywhere, but at least he was on the boat. I'm sure lots of people have had this experience before, but I hadn't and reached for the vinegar. The vinegar seemed to have no effect and after a while he became slightly delirious, but then recovered after about an hour.

Getting home I was doing a bit of research when I discovered this:

Vinegar (or any acid) is the wrong thing to use. Commonly recommended for jellyfish stings, vinegar is only useful against the stings from box jellyfish. It can actually cause nematocysts discharge when used to treat the sting from a portugeuse man of war - making it worse. I think that using vinegar is probably good advice since the most potentially deadly stings are usually from box jellies - unless it's a portugeuse man of war

Apparently the right thing to do would have been to:

  • remove tentacles ideally with tweezers, but fingers will do
  • persistent neamtocysts can be pulled of with adhesive bandage or gaffa (another use for it!!)
  • wash/douse in sea water
  • apply ice packs to relieve skin pain
  • cortisone
  • antihistamine

    Enthusiastic people could check this article out from Marine-medic.com;

    Click here

    It seems unfair that he was attacked by such a beautiful and interesting animal, that shouldn't really have any grudge against us humans - it would have been more fitting (though unlikely) to have been attacked by a shark: revenge for the the millions killed for tasteless soup every year.