Neutralizing a jellyfish sting

5 July 2014
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5 July 2014, Comments: 0

Even though jellyfish can appear harmless, these creatures are capable of delivering a sting that can cause pain and even serious complications if not treated right away. In some cases, a jellyfish sting can lead to an anaphylactic shock or even death if it is left untreated. If an individual sustains a jellyfish sting while swimming in the beach, it is important to neutralize the poison immediately in order to ease the pain and minimize the risk for serious medical complications. Even though not all jellyfish stings can cause serious health risks, it is important to treat one as a potentially fatal case.

For those who love to spend time in the beach, it is important to watch out for jellyfish in the water. Avoid jumping into the water hurriedly since there might be jellyfish present that can deliver a nasty sting.

Poisonous species of jellyfish

The box jellyfish is considered the deadliest jellyfish with several tentacles that can reach up to 3 meters in length. These tentacles are covered with microscopic darts infused with venom. It is likely that each creature has enough venom to kill up to 60 adults. The venom is also fast-acting and can kill in just a matter of minutes due to cardiovascular collapse. Additionally, the venom also attacks the skin cells and nervous system.

The sea nettle is also a poisonous jellyfish that are known to gather in order to form large blossoms during the summer months. These are large species that can reach up to 1 foot across with 24 tentacles with their notorious stingers. A sting from a sea nettle can cause severe pain and leave behind a painful rash on the skin for an hour.

Steps on how to neutralize a jellyfish sting

By following these first aid measures, you can quickly neutralize a sting from a jellyfish until the individual can receive medical care at the hospital.

Jellyfish sting

Wrap the affected body part using a clean towel or cloth and then wipe away any remaining tentacles that are stuck on the sting site

  1. You have to remove the individual from the water and try to make him/her comfortable. Initially, you have to elevate his/her head and check if he/she is still breathing. If possible, wrap the individual using a towel and leave the sting site uncovered. Try to calm the individual and make sure that he/she is warm to prevent shock for occurring.
  2. Wrap the affected body part using a clean towel or cloth and then wipe away any remaining tentacles that are stuck on the sting site since these can continue to release poison even after the sting has been neutralized.
  3. The site of the jellyfish sting must be washed with vinegar. Immerse a towel or cloth and wipe it on the affected area or simply pour vinegar over the wound, depending on the nature of the sting. You can also use ammonia but it must be diluted. If ammonia is used, use half amount of ammonia and water. If possible, use salt water. Do not use fresh water since it will only cause more pain.
  4. Bring the individual to the emergency department at the nearest hospital so that a healthcare professional can properly assess the damage sustained from the jellyfish sting. You should also describe the jellyfish that delivered the sting for identification purposes.

Important considerations to bear in mind

Even though urine can work in neutralizing the wound, it might not contain enough acetic acid to effectively neutralize the wound. Even if the pain will diminish, the poison of the jellyfish can still enter the bloodstream.

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