Samui's Shocking Month Has A Silver Lining
There has been a spike in reports of jellyfish stings on Koh Samui recently. Generally around Lamai Beach. Most it appears can be attributed to single and multiple-tentacle box jellyfish. In August, 2016 alone there were 17 people with serious stings admitted to hospital for treatment. Fortunately there have been no reported deaths.
The good news is, there has also been an increase in interest in box jellyfish safety and awareness from operators on Koh Samui. Seminars conducted by a team of Thai experts have been well attended by locals, warning signs are popping up, vinegar stations are being installed and information is being circulated in multiple languages.
While potentially lethal box jellyfish are present on both sides of Thailand and stings occur year round, in this section of the Gulf of Thailand sting patterns suggest that the box jellyfish high season is July to October. Now is the time to be informed, aware and prepared.
Before you go into the sea, ask at your hotel about the box jellyfish situation and, if they are beachside, if they have an action plan in case of a sting. There should be vinegar available on or near the beach in case of an emergency, staff should be familiar with resuscitation techniques, a vehicle should be available to transport to hospital.
Read the signs at the beachfront and familiarise yourself with the basic steps of prevention and treatment. It takes only a few seconds and could save you, a family member, friend or a stranger in need.
The single best way to prevent being stung - aside from sticking to the hotel pool - is by wearing a lycra stinger suit that at least covers the body from ankle and wrist to neck. Fashion victims worried about the unflattering look are more likely to end up sting victims, but if you simply can't go there then at least protect your children and invest in a kid's lycra suit.
When entering the sea, don't run, walk in as box jellyfish have a sophisticated visual system and tend to move away if they see you coming.
While it is highly unlikely, if you receive or witness a sting you absolutely must act quickly:
1. CALL FOR HELP - get someone else to contact the hospital or doctor or ambulance service
2. TREAT THE VICTIM - use CPR if needed to keep the victim alive if not breathing and/or no pulse
3. TREAT THE STING - apply vinegar by pouring on sting area for 30-60 seconds
4. TRANSPORT - get the victim to hospital or the doctor as soon as possible
Box jellyfish venom can potentially kill in minutes. There is no time to waste.
Box jellyfish are here, alongside other dangers and risks associated with tropical seas. Chances are you and yours will be absolutely fine. But be alert, not alarmed, and you can enjoy your vacation in paradise - sting-free and drama-free.