Woman warns others of giant jellyfish in Scottish waters after suffering severe reaction to sting

The 50-year-old went into anaphylactic shock and she struggled to breathe.

Monday, 21st September 2020, 2:03 pm
Updated Monday, 21st September 2020, 2:44 pm

A wild swimmer has warned others after she nearly died from being stung by a jellyfish.

Libby Bling was swimming in the sea at Whiteness beach, also known as Delnies beach, near Inverness when she was stung by what she believes to have been a Lion’s Mane, also known as the giant jellyfish.

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The 50-year-old went into anaphylactic shock and her health declined rapidly causing her difficulty breathing and major swelling and tingling sensations across her body.

Libby Bling and a picture of her hand swelled up after she was stung by a jellyfish on Saturday
Libby Bling and a picture of her hand swelled up after she was stung by a jellyfish on Saturday

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She was kept under 24 hour watch in hospital given the severity of her reaction to the sting.

"It felt like someone poured boiling water on my hand,” Libby said, “I have been through childbirth and this was so much worse.”

The keen swimmer had been splashing around in the water with her friend and a young seal which had joined them for a weekend dip on Saturday, 19 September at about 11am.

After feeling the chill of the northern waters, Libby decided to wade back towards the beach during which her hand brushed against the giant jelly fish.

“I screamed out to my friend Agnes saying I had been stung,” she said, still sounding stunned by the traumatic experience.

"She looked over and said ‘no, no, that's just a giant bush of seaweed floating.’

"It definitely was not seaweed, but an enormous Lion’s Mane jelly fish stretching about 36 inches wide.”

During her drive to the hospital Libby’s condition became critical.

"We were about four miles from Inverness when I really started to feel unwell,” she said.

"Agnes just burst through the A&E doors when arrived asking staff to help.

"I don’t remember a good 45 minutes of sitting in hospital while they treated me."

After receiving treatment, Libby recovered and said she is looking forward to getting back in the water again.

"Wild swimming does absolute wonders for me,” she said.

"I know I had a terrifying encounter with a jellyfish where I could have nearly died, but I know this sort of reaction doesn’t happen to everyone and the doctor even said don’t let this put you off swimming in Scotland.

“It is important though to be conscious that you could run into one, and some jellyfish can still sting even when they’re dead.”

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