Box jellyfish have been spotted in Singapore waters in recent months. Box jellyfish belong to a class of jellyfish called Cubozoa, which have highly venomous stings that can cause fatalities. For your own safety, please take note of the following before heading to one of our beaches:
Symptoms of Box Jellyfish Stings
- Immediate, increasing, and extreme pain
- Imprint of tentacles whipped on skin, usually with ladder-like pattern
- Whitish strings adhering to skin
- Breathing difficulties
Severity of symptoms vary with the victim’s condition and degree of stinging. Depending on the species of box jellyfish, systemic symptoms may arise almost immediately or even up to 15-20 minutes after being stung. Monitor for at least 45 minutes after getting out of the water.
Swimmers and boaters are advised to take the following precautions:
- Do not swim or engage in sea sports alone
- Leave as little skin exposed as possible e.g. wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants, or a wetsuit
- Wear a floatation device such as a safety buoy or life jacket
- Bring a bottle of plain vinegar along with you
- Do not approach or touch any jellyfish, either in the water or that has been washed up on the beach
If you have been stung by a jellyfish and are in severe pain, or observe someone in the water who seems to be have been stung and is in pain or distress, take the following measures:
- Get the victim to shore immediately with the help of others.
- Seek immediate medical attention by calling 995. Note that stings covering more than half of one limb are considered life-threatening.
- A trained emergency first responder may perform CPR if necessary.
- Keep the victim calm and still to minimise additional venom discharge from tentacles, and under shelter.
- Do not rub the wound or attempt to remove the tentacles with your hands; this can cause the stinging cells to release more venom into the body.
- Flood the sting area with seawater, and if available, plain vinegar, for at least 30 seconds. Do not use freshwater, urine or any other substance. If vinegar causes the pain to worsen, cease using it and use seawater only; some non-box jellyfish stings may get more painful if exposed to vinegar.
- After flooding, remove the tentacles using a towel or tweezers.
If you have further queries or would like to report a sighting, please contact us through our online feedback form.