Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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Alert after spate of jellyfish stings along Cumbrian coast

A jellyfish alert has been issued along the Cumbrian coast with people suffering stings so severe that they’ve been treated in hospital.

Judith Jones photo
Judith Jones

Paramedics say they’ve been inundated with calls to treat beach-goers, particularly at St Bees – prompting a warning from the Coastguard.

There’s been a surge in jellyfish sightings along the coast thought to have been caused by the mild winter and warm weather of recent weeks.

One woman rushed to hospital in excruciating pain after being stung has backed warnings for people to be vigilant on Cumbria’s beaches.

Judith Jones was stung while swimming at Drigg.

At first she thought nothing about the sting as she had encountered jellyfish in the past. She was left with a prickly sensation for just a few minutes. But when the pain became unbearable she knew something was wrong.

The 54-year-old believes she was stung by a lion’s mane jellyfish, which is not the most commonly spotted species.

“Something touched my little finger which felt very jelly-like so I pulled my arm away,” said Judith, who lives at Beckermet, near Egremont. “I didn’t see a dome of the jellyfish but I saw reddy-brown tendrils wrapped around my arm, from my wrist up to my elbow.”

When the pain did not calm down, she got out of the water and wrapped herself in a towel.

“I started to feel prickles on my hands, legs and feet and then it got really bad and I said to my husband we were going to have to go home.

“We got to Gosforth and I was huffing and panting and rocking around in the car. I have never felt pain like it. I had goosepimples all up my arm.”

Judith went straight to hospital and was quickly seen by a doctor, who immediately gave her an antihistamine and painkillers.

“Anybody who saw me at the hospital must have thought I was crazy,” said the well-known singer. “I looked like I was in the final stages of labour, it was that bad. I knew it wasn’t an ordinary jellyfish sting and I started hyperventilating and my pulse was racing.”

Doctors put steroid cream on the sting and eventually let Judith go home, but she was unable to get any sleep and had to take time off work.

“The following day I was zonked out from all of the painkillers I had taken and was still in a lot of pain. It’s the worst pain I have ever been through – it was much worse than child labour or gall stones. It was a burning sensation, like when you scald yourself with an iron.”

Nathan Majors, a Coastguard Rescue Officer in Whitehaven, said they had been asked to issue an alert by the North West Ambulance Service.

He said: “Jellyfish stings are quite common but different people will react in different ways.”

He advised anyone who has been stung to phone 999.

For more information on treating jellyfish stings visit


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