Mag­ne­sium look­ing good as stinger treat­ment

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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.

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