Dealing with a Jellyfish Sting

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Many of us take health precautions when we go to the beach. From sunscreen to sunblock to making sure that we are extra hydrated in the hot sun, we are constantly on the alert to protect ourselves from the heat.

However, the heat isn’t the only potential danger waiting for us when we go to the beach. While beach wildlife is usually harmless, sometimes coming into contact with beach critters can be dangerous for our health. Nothing exemplifies that statement more than a jellyfish sting.

Most of us know to stay away from a jellyfish if we see one, but sometimes, we don’t see one and end up getting stung. These stings can be painful and learning how to deal with one in the initial minutes after the sting is key to determining the course of your treatment.

Learn more about what to do if you or your loved one is stung by a jellyfish!

Symptoms of a Jellyfish Sting

Before delving into what to do about a jellyfish sting, it is important to go over the various symptoms of a jellyfish sting. This serves two functions. First, you can tell that what you’re actually dealing with a jellyfish sting as opposed to another injury. Second, based on your symptoms, you can figure out the best course of treatment for you.

Symptoms of a jellyfish sting typically include:

  • Burning pain
  • Tracks on the skin that are red, purple, or brown — these are tracks left from a jellyfish’s tentacles
  • Swelling
  • Throbbing in the affected area

You’ll know if you’re dealing with a serious case if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weakness and confusion
  • Trouble breathing
  • Heart issues

In extreme cases, jellyfish stings can become extremely serious. Contact a doctor if you are experiencing the above symptoms.

Handling a Jellyfish Sting

Usually, you won’t need to see a doctor after being stung by a jellyfish. Most doctors recommend the following course of treatment after noticing you’ve been stung:

  • Removing any remaining tentacles near the affected area through plucking
  • Soaking the area in hot water. Water around 110 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended, but if you don’t have a thermometer on hand, gauge the water yourself. The water should be hot, but not completely unbearable to the point that it causes any burns.

If possible, you can also contact a lifeguard on the beach who is likely trained on what to do in the event of a jellyfish sting.

What NOT to Do

There are several myths out there surrounding what you should do in the case of a jellyfish sting. It is important to keep in mind that most of these myths are unproved. You should avoid doing any of the following in response to your sting, no matter how tempting it may seem:

  • Apply human urine to the affected area
  • Apply a meat tenderizer to the affected area
  • Apply fresh water to the affected area

If you ever have any doubts, make sure to reach out to a professional.

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