Beware the jellyfish, Singapore’s swimmers are warned following string of injuries

At left, the Box Jellyfish spotted at Sentosa, scars from an attack, at right. Images: Marine Stewards/Facebook, Carolyn David/Facebook
At left, the Box Jellyfish spotted at Sentosa, scars from an attack, at right. Images: Marine Stewards/Facebook, Carolyn David/Facebook

Beachgoers are being warned to stay out of the water following a series of jellyfish stings. 

Sea environmental organization Marine Stewards said there has been a spate of box jellyfish sightings in recent months, especially near the beaches of Sentosa, Seringat, Lazarus, and St. John’s islands.

Large numbers of the venomous marine life appear seasonally in the region in enough numbers to occasionally result in fatalities.

Though they have been less problematic in Singapore, there have been several reported encounters this year.

The most recent happened yesterday to a 4-year-old girl near Palawan Beach on Sentosa island.

“Due to further incidences of the highly venomous box jellyfish, including a girl getting stung by one at Sentosa on 17 July, we update our advice to not swim at Sentosa, Seringat, Lazarus and St [John’s] islands for a further two weeks,” the group wrote online yesterday. “Relevant authorities have been notified and are working on this.”

According to the advisory, there have been multiple reported sightings of the jellyfish at islands like Seringat and Lazarus and two attacks at East Coast Park and Sentosa since March.

The girl who was attacked yesterday sustained venom burns. Warning signs were to be erected today.

“Sentosa Development Corp called and said they are putting up warning signs today. They also [sent] NUS research team to study Sentosa water,” the girl’s mother, Carolyn David, wrote in the comments.

The organization advises those who spot jellyfish no to touch them and contact the National Parks Board via hotline.

Those stung should pour white vinegar over the affected area and call for an ambulance.

“Please stay safe and alert. Box jellies are highly venomous and potentially fatal,” they wrote.

The cube-shaped jellyfish, which has tentacles that can grow over 3 meters, have deadly venom that can kill victims before they can return to shore. Survivors can suffer pain for weeks and significant scarring.

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