Vinegar May Kill Rather than Cure Victims of Box Jellyfish Stings: Study

Vinegar May Kill Rather than Cure Victims of Box Jellyfish Stings: Study

Vinegar is considered to be a remedy for jellyfish stings in Australia. But such is not the case, say Australian experts. Novel research by team of researchers in Australia has in fact raised concerns about vinegar's tendency to do more harm when used as first aid for box jellyfish stings.

Researchers from Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine at James Cook University and Cairns Hospital said the box jellyfish injects its venom through nematocysts. These are stinging darts present primarily on the tentacles, but in some species they are present on body also.

These little stinging darts shoots as soon as the tentacles come in contact with chemicals of its prey. Study researchers have found that vinegar leads to the further discharge of venom from already discharged nematocysts.

Researchers examined the effect of vinegar on discharged nematocysts of the large box jellyfish. They found that vinegar may cause up to 60% more venom discharge from the lethal jellyfish into the victim. This has led researchers to ask the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) to consider revising their sting treatment guidelines.

As per the ARC guidelines, vinegar should be used for all box jelly fish stings. "Our research shows this may not be the best course of action and it's now for the ARC to consider whether its protocol should be changed", affirmed Associate Professor Jamie Seymour.

Prof. Seymour thought he would be able to show the world why people should use vinegar, but what they got was that using vinegar will increase the venom percentage in the victim. The venom fired by a box jellyfish does not end up in person's bloodstream. But vinegar activated the venom that otherwise would not have happened, said Prof. Seymour.

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