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Lion's Mane jellyfish warning after wild swimmer's encounter in Moray Firth


By Philip Murray

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The Lion's Mane jellyfish is a common sight in Scottish waters. Their stinging tentacles can extend a long way from their bell.
The Lion's Mane jellyfish is a common sight in Scottish waters. Their stinging tentacles can extend a long way from their bell.

A WILD swimmer who feels lucky to be alive after a terrifying allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting, has warned others to take care in the water.

Liberty Bligh, who also goes by Libby, is recovering from a terrifying brush with death after she suffered a severe reaction to the sting from a 36in Lion's Mane.

She was stung by the jellyfish while wild swimming close to the shore at Whiteness secret beach near Nairn on Saturday morning. The giant species, which is a common sight in Scottish waters, is one of the largest in the sea when fully grown. It has very long flowing tentacles that look like a lion's mane and can extend for tens of metres, and has a painful sting.

But although the sting was "very painful" Libby was not expecting what came next.

After finishing her swim, she and a friend began to drive back to Inverness when she began to feel "very unwell". They had to pull over after the turn off to Inverness Airport.

Liberty Bligh (pictured) suffered a severe reaction to the jellyfish sting.
Liberty Bligh (pictured) suffered a severe reaction to the jellyfish sting.

"My friend took over the driving and within five minutes I was having a full blown anaphylactic reaction," explained Libby. "She got me to Raigmore Hospital's A&E just in time as I was struggling to breathe. If it had been a few minutes later I probably would have stopped breathing.

"If I had been on my own I might not be here to tell the tale."

"The A&E staff were amazing and gave me emergency drugs through my trousers into my thigh and then an IV to reverse the anaphylaxis," explained Libby, who stayed in hospital overnight in case she developed a secondary reaction after the drugs wore off.

She was completely unaware that she was allergic to the jellyfish sting before her ordeal, and while most people will not suffer so severe a physical reaction, she has now moved to warn other swimmers of the potential hidden dangers.

"Anaphylactic reactions to jellyfish are extremely rare and I had no idea I was allergic to them until now," she continued.

"I've posted a warning to the Highland dippers Facebook page to warn fellow wild swimmers but I would hate for anyone else to go through what I've been through and to remind people how dangerous they can be."



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