DANGEROUS ANIMALS OF CROATIA – JELLYFISH

Dangerous animals of Croatia jellyfish is a part of the Cnidarian order and in the Adriatic sea there are a couple species that are poisons. The most well-known are Aurelia hat (Aurelia aurita), Perple-stripped jelly (Pelagia noctiluca) and Barrel jellyfish (Rhizostoma pulmo).

dangerous animals croatia jellyfish via vacationsJellyfishes are gelatinous creatures, made mostly of water and they don’t have very good control of their movements. Because of that, they mostly float, carried by sea currents. They have long tentacles with cnidocytes which excrete a poisonous content. If they are touched, cnidocytes are ejected (like a harpoon) which pierce through the tissue and transfers the poison. Most of the stinging happens by accident when someone touches a jellyfish during swimming.

With humans, the poison from the tentacles causes a searing pain similar to the pain of the burn, and then the skin becomes red and rash appears, quickly followed with swelling and the appearance of blisters. Rash is usually limited to the area of the skin that had a direct contact with the dangerous animals of Croatia jellyfish. The sting is visible for a few days up to several weeks and even a secondary infection of the poisoned area is possible. Some of the more severe symptoms are the appearance of Eczema, followed by violent itching, Tinea and changes in skin pigmentation.

After being poisoned by a dangerous animals of Croatia jellyfish it is important to remain calm (as much as possible) and not irritate the area of the sting (that way the poison goes deeper into the tissue). The area of the sting should immediately be washed with salt water (never with fresh water because it intensifies pain!), and the tentacles can be removed with tweezers (not with fingers!). It is good to wash the area of the sting with vinegar or with alcohol (they block the cnidocytes that haven’t released the poison). There are medications and creams that reduce the swelling and itching (corticosteroid and antihistamine therapy). However, these therapies should only be used under doctor’s strict instructions. If the extremities are affected they should be immobilized but sensitive areas such as eyes, face, mouth or genitalia need immediate medical attention. If the area around the eye is affected (local inflammation, redness, swelling and tearing up) it can lead to permanent visual impairment. The affected area around the eyes should immediately be washed with water (not salt water) and call for medical help. If the area around the mouth is affected it can cause breathing and swallowing problems so it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention.

In very rare cases the poisoning can lead to an allergic reaction and shock that manifests as difficulties with breathing, general weariness, headaches, throwing up, muscle spasms and changes in body temperature and consciousness. In that case, due to the severity of the situation, it is necessary to take the affected person to the nearest medical institution and in the meantime, if necessary, try and revive the victim. It is crucial to warn that even a dead jellyfish can sting so if you find one on the beach, don’t touch it with you bare hands!

dangerous animals croatia anemone via vacationsAnemones look a lot like sea plants and are also part of the Cnidarian order. They usually live attached to the sea floor. In the Adriatic sea the most common are Snakelocks anemone (Anemonia viridis) and Beadlet (Actinia equina), while a very poisonous Atinia cari is rare. Anemones on their tentacles have cnidocytes filled with poison. After touching the tentacles a sting can be felt, a sting like from a bee (the pain doesn’t have to be strong). After a few minutes red rings appear in the area of the sting/ a rash that usually disappears within a day. Sometimes, blisters can appear and because of the itching it not rare to get a secondary infection in the area of the sting. Treatment is symptomatic, the area should be washed with sea water and vinegar (even with alcohol) respectively. Doctor, in case of more severe symptoms, prescribe antihistaminic and corticosteroid therapies. In severe cases, if a big area of skin is affected (usually with children), symptoms can be muscle pain, higher body temperature, throwing up and loss of consciousness. Then, it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention.


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