Safe Sea & Other Jellyfish Lotions - Buyer Beware!

There is NO - ABSOLUTELY NO evidence to show that Safe Sea jellyfish sting protection lotion works against the type of box jellyfish that has killed people in Thailand, South-East Asia, Australia or anywhere. NO PROOF - NONE!

And there are others making big claims that need to be questioned: Jellyfish Squish, Stingmate, Sting No More, Sting Away.

Don't waste your money and risk your life if you think Safe Sea or similar lotions and potions will save you and your children from a lethal box jellyfish sting because they may not. Nidaria the Israeli company that develops/manufactures this product has NEVER tested it on lethal box jellyfish. In fact, one study (2005) published on their website [1] said that they should - but all these years later they have not undertaken the test.

The species of box jellyfish tested in the study arranged by Nidaria is non-lethal and lives in the Americas. It is not the same as the Thai species. Yes they are 'box jellyfish' but there are many different types - while domestic cats and lions are feline, one will rip your head off. The study also says that Safe Sea lotion only provided 70% protection against this species. What about the other 30%? If the stinger was a killer would you be only 30% dead?

This product that apparently mimics the clownfish's slimy defence against the anemone's stinging cells was developed and is manufactured by the founder and director of Nidaria, Amit Lotan. The 'evidence' provided by Nidaria on their website (Safe Sea Scientific Articles)  is 4 papers - one previously referred to here and 3 others all authored by Amit Lotan. This is like Ronald McDonald evaluating the nutritional value of a Happy Meal.

Claims to help prevent stings from most jellyfish - but not lethal ones!

In 2009 when Safe Sea attempted to profit with dangerous false advertising in Thailand, Dr Lisa Gershwin, an eminent international box jellyfish expert, had this to say:

 “Physalia utriculus is neutralised by vinegar, whereas the multi-tentacled Physalia here in Australia is activated by it.  A clown fish covered with the slime of one anemone will be ready prey for another anemone. Safe Sea does not work as well for Chiropsalmus quadrumanus as it does for Chrysaora quinquecirrha. 

There are subtle biochemical differences in species perception and species behaviours that we do not fully understand. Sometimes they are between classes, sometimes they are between sister species. It is possible that the product works better for Chironex and/or Irukandji than it works for the species tested; it is also possible that it does not work at all for one or both; it is also possible that it works somewhere in between. The only way we will know is by credible independent testing. Until then, scientific honesty and duty of care dictate that we assume it could be bad, and we thus avoid the ramifications of a Type II error.” 

So what are the facts? The fact is that Safe Sea is NOT sold in Australia - for obvious reasons. The fact is that Nidaria that sells Safe Sea has not tested it fully. The fact is that Safe Sea can NOT be trusted as prevention against potentially lethal jellyfish in the Indo-Pacific region including Thailand. The fact is that the best ways not to get stung by a box jellyfish in Thailand is to swim in the pool or wear a lycra suit in the sea.

Another product dealing with jellyfish stings is Sting No More. This lotion has been developed to prevent stinging and relieve pain.

The developer claims that there is a component in the lotion that 'inhibits' the venom which could be somewhat misleading. 'Inhibit' can mean that it slows or that it stops the venom once it has been injected into the skin.

Once again, at the time of writing, none of this has been tested on potentially lethal box jellyfish such as the Chironex-type active in Thailand and the region. The developer/manufacturer/distributor of Sting No More has conducted/authored a study (link below [2]) that was performed with 'important limitations' on the non-lethal cubozoan species Alatina alata.  

When the time does come that a fully tested and proven product is available that could save lives, it will be a time to celebrate. But at the moment there is NO such lotion or product. Proceed with caution folks - it's common sense and it could save your life.

Just use VINEGAR. It's been repeatedly proven to be effective, and it's cheap!

Here are links to two other posts on this subject in this blog:


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