Sunday, January 09, 2011

The deadly box jellyfish...

Look at this thing.

Glowing, undulating, pulsating with unearthly beauty...floating aimlessly along with only the bare essentials of a nervous system. It's the world's most deadly jelly fish, and each one packs enough venom to kill 60 adults.

Tentacles up to 3 meters long, and just brushing one is enough to automatically release the microscopic darts, flooding your system with poison.

Excruciating pain follows shortly thereafter and if the strike is bad, your expected lifespan is somewhere around oh...3 or 4 minutes.

This creature is from Northern Australia.  It packs a neurotoxin that targets the skin, heart and nervous system simultaneously.

Initial treatment for a victim is to get vinegar onto the wound, and then you'll need to begin CPR.

The nasty thing about trying to help someone who's been stung is that the stingers continue to be active until naturally broken down, so if you so much as touch the wounded area, whilst trying to save your victim, you get stung as well...then you'll be needing CPR too..

"Eh Jeeem?  What's your point in posting this crap?" you ask...

Easily enough Jeeem's Quiet Musings usually has a definite purpose to its postings...


Hey, it's a tiny little squat continent anyway...nothing much missed as well over half the goddamn place is desert anyway...horrid desert.  Plus the people talk funny anyway.

But, the solid fact is that Australia is home to the largest percentage of the most lethal, putridity poisonous animals and insects in the world.  The box jellyfish is just a small sample.  Whether on land or in the sea, you had better watch your goddamn ass!

Then there is the microscopic terrors most Australian visitors never encounter...but those who do or who have, will tell you...

They'd rather have died by the savage bite of a great white shark, the lethal sting of a box jellyfish, or stepping on the deadly blue-ringed octopus, which delivers a neurotoxin so to totally paralyze a victim in less than four minutes. 

“The symptoms overwhelm you. On a pain scale of 1 to 10,
it rated between 15 and 20...”

- Irukandji victim

It is likely that the pain from an Irukandji sting ranks among the most intense and excruciating agonies possible to experience - skirting the actual limits of maximum pain. With the soaring blood pressure, profuse sweating and frantic cramps, some bodies simply buckle under the pressure of the unrelenting torment, with brain hemorrhages and heart attacks having been documented as a result. Victims report wanting to rip their own skin off, begging doctors to be killed just to be put out of their misery. A female victim elaborates, "It's like when you're in labor, having a baby, and you've reached the peak of a contraction—that absolute peak—and you feel like you just can't do it anymore. That's the minimum that [Irukandji] pain is at, and it just builds from there."

"I don't think anything can prepare you for it. It comes in these sorts of crazy waves of pain, which increase in intensity
until you get to the point where you just can’t handle it..."

- Irukandji victim

Dr Peter Fenner is Australia's leading expert on the grouping of symptoms that later came to be known as Irukandji syndrome. What he tells of the course of the symptoms shows that the Irukandji has further tricks up its sleeve than the mere pain: "You get cramping in the muscles of the legs, moving up into the abdomen, into the chest, into the arms," says Dr Fenner. "It's the really severe cramping pains that people become totally distraught by.

It comes in waves, rather like labor pain, getting stronger and stronger. You need vast doses of morphine or opiate drugs to control the pain. Victims get a really severe headache and begin vomiting. They feel absolutely dreadful.  A feeling of impending doom is how they describe it".

Disturbingly, Irukandji venom seems to affect the mind as well. Victims report a sense of being certain that the pain will kill them, that death is inevitable.

Compounding the overwhelming stress of the experience, no antivenom exists, and in most cases not even the strongest painkillers can take the edge off the torturous suffering.

Because Irukandji syndrome, though temporary and rarely lasting longer than a "few days" (a lifetime to those who are experiencing the pain), has such a varied and unpredictable progression, complete sedation is extremely risky, leaving no other course for victims than be left alone to face the onslaught head-on, writhing in torment at the limits of pain. want to visit Australia....


And I didn't even get to the ultra deadly snakes and spiders, which inhabit that sordid continent.



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