Magnesium looking good as stinger treatment
MAGNESIUMcouldbe the secret to curing potentially lethal jellyfish stings after it was successfully administered to a victim in North Queensland late last week.
An English honeymooner was stung by an irukandji while he was swimming off Hayman Island on Wednesday.
The patient spent two days in intensive care at Mackay Hospital, but doctors said he would make a full recovery.
CQRescue care flight registrar Doctor Mark Shirran said the patient was showing severe signs of irukandji syndrome when medical attention arrived at the island more than two hours after he was stung.
‘‘He felt extreme pain in his back and legs, he had high blood pressure, nauseous, was short of breath and sweating profusely and shaking a lot,’’ Dr Shirran said.
The doctor said he had began preparing a magnesium drip while still in flight, so he was able to begin treating the patient within one minute of landing.
‘‘As soon as he started receiving the magnesium, he felt immediate relief.
‘‘We continued to administer the magnesium because when we stopped the symptoms returned.
‘‘I was very impressed with the treatment. It was the first time I had treated an irukandji sting.’’
However, Dr Shirran said vinegar was still essential in the treatment of jellyfish stings. ‘‘Vinegar had been administered before we arrived and it is still extremely important in the treatment of stings before the magnesium is administered.
‘‘It is effective in neutralising the toxin left on the skin, but not that already in the body,’’ he said.
However, JCU marine stinger expert Dr Jamie Seymour said the magnesium treatment had showed mixed results in Cairns.
He said magnesium trails that were under way in Broome were also showing limited success.
Dr Seymour said the Cairns trials would continue this summer, before the results would be analysed.
He said the different biology of species in different regions may be one reason for the varying success rate of the treatment.