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Portland, OR, 97209


Stuff like this, almost keeps me out of the water

James Kellerman

This small jellyfish only 12mm in diameter with tentacles from 5 cm to 1m has a sting that precedes painful symptoms known as Irukandji syndrome. It sounds terrifying from the accounts below. Sometimes I read too much wikipedia, damn you wikipedia.
Irukandji syndrome is produced by a very small amount of venom and includes severe pains at various parts of the body (typically excruciating muscle cramps in the arms and legs, severe pain in the back and kidneys, and a burning sensation of the skin and face), headaches, nausea, restlessness, sweating, vomiting, high heart rate and blood pressure. As of 2006, no antivenom is known. The sting itself is only moderately irritating, the severe syndrome being delayed for 5-120 minutes (30 minutes on average). The severity of pain is apparent in a Discovery Channel show on Carukia barnesi when two researchers (Jamie Seymore and Teresa Carrette) are stung. Even under the "maximum dose of morphine" Teresa remarked that she "wished she could rip her skin off", and is later seen writhing uncontrollably from the pain, while lying on her hospital bed. In a particularly disturbing shot, we see Theresa's feet contorting and digging into the bed. When the camera pulls out to a wide shot, she is rubbing her face, her body is contorting in agony, and her legs are rapidly sliding and kicking around on the bed. Jamie, at his worst, is also seen writhing in pain, curled up like a ball and barely able to speak. Jamie said he wished that he was stung by Chironex fleckeri instead since "the pain goes away in 20 minutes or you die".
Irukandji jellyfish - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: