Ways & How

How to Treat Jellyfish Stings

How to Treat Jellyfish Stings

Jellyfish are sea creatures that sometimes swim very close to the shore. Because of that, beach vacationers are always at risk of getting jellyfish stings. Even though most jellyfish stings are harmless, a lot of people will vouch for the fact that they are extremely painful. Furthermore, there are some types of jellyfish stings that are toxic and require emergency medical help. If you are planning to go to the beach on a holiday, here are the steps on how to treat jellyfish stings that might come in handy:

  1. Get out of the water. Since jellyfish stings can be very painful, you might have difficulty swimming if you decide to stay in the water. Furthermore, it is easier to treat stings when you are safe on shore without any danger of getting stung again. You should also stay as still as possible since any movement might release toxins into your body.

  2. Assess the jellyfish sting. In most cases, jellyfish stings are only painful, not harmful. However, if you sense any severe symptoms, such as difficulty of breathing, loss of consciousness, difficulty in swallowing, dizziness, chest pain and irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, and nausea, then you should immediately seek emergency medical help.

    You should also call for help if the sting covers a large area of the body, genitals, or face.

  3. Rinse the affected area with salt water and remove the tentacles. Avoid fresh water at all costs since it can cause inactive stinging cells to fire more venom and worsen the situation. Rubbing the area with sand can also produce the same reaction. After rinsing with salt water, remove any visible tentacles using anything other than your bare hands to avoid getting stung. Inspect your swimwear for any tentacles since they usually stick to swimsuits.

  4. Apply shaving cream. One of the substances that can help prevent the spread of toxins is shaving cream, so apply liberally on the affected area. Previously, substances, such as vinegar, alcohol, and baking soda, were recommended to deactivate stingers, but recent studies show that they are no longer effective in treating jellyfish stings. In fact, they make matters worse because they actually do the opposite of what they were supposed to do, which is activating unfired stinging cells. Just stick to shaving cream because it is the one thing that can help prevent more toxins from entering your body.

  5. Shave the affected area. After applying shaving cream, gently shave the affected area using a knife, credit card, or razor. Make sure that you do not apply too much pressure so that you do not activate the remaining unfired stinging cells.

  6. Apply an ice pack. It can help reduce swelling and inflammation on the affected area. It can also help numb the pain for a while. Just remember to apply ice packs after you have made sure that there are no more stingers stuck on your skin. Pain usually starts to lessen 10 minutes after treatment and is almost completely gone 24 hours after treatment. If the jellyfish sting is still painful after some time, consider taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen.

  7. Clean open sores daily. Use an antibiotic ointment to clean your open sores at least three times a day. You can also take antihistamines and apply hydrocortisone cream to reduce irritation and itchiness.

Learning how to treat jellyfish stings can be very helpful for treating people who accidentally get stung by a jellyfish. Always watch out for severe symptoms and promptly seek medical treatment. Otherwise, if the sting is just a minor one, follow the steps detailed above in order to remove the tentacles and lessen the pain and irritation.


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