'Rinse jellyfish stings in vinegar'
Experts are warning that high densities of lion's mane jellyfish are now off the Irish coast - and anyone who is stung should rinse the wound in vinegar.
Five people have been treated in hospital for stings from the jellyfish in recent days.
Experts from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway and UCC have moved to advise the best way to deal with a sting.
Research published by NUI Galway in the international journal 'Toxins' in 2017 showed that the best first-aid treatment for a lion's mane sting is to rinse with vinegar to remove tentacles. The wound should then be immersed in 45C hot water, or apply a heat pack, for 40 minutes.
Dr Tom Doyle from UCC will meet with the Beaumont Poison Centre in Dublin to discuss these findings in the next few weeks.
"Lion's mane are spreading geographically, with sightings in the Celtic Sea and Atlantic waters in recent weeks," Dr Doyle said. "It is not correct to say this is the first time they have been spotted on the west coast, as we had reports for the last two years, but they are particularly large and mature.
"The typical jellyfish lives in the water column for six to eight months, having been released as a juvenile in December, but we believe these jellyfish may have over-wintered and may be on their second season."
The lion's mane jellyfish can have a bell diameter of up to one metre. It has thousands of long tentacles located beneath its bell. The most recent victim of the painful jellyfish sting was Jack Dunne (14), who was swimming at Port Beach, in Co Louth, when a "huge" jellyfish stuck to his shoulder and chest.
"Its tentacles went around his legs and waist," his mother Mellissa said.