What are jellyfish stings?
Jellyfish are water stingers that may be found in every ocean on the planet. Their bodies are delicate and bell-shaped, with long tentacles.
In the tentacles of many jellyfish, stinging cells called nematocysts are found. These cells carry venom, a toxic toxin that jellyfish use to defend themselves. By stinging food, the venom also assists them in capturing it.
Box jellyfish, lion’s mane, Portuguese man-of-war, and sea nettle are among the jellyfish whose stings can be deadly.
What causes jellyfish stings?
When swimming in the water or wandering on the beach, people may come into touch with jellyfish nematocysts. The venom from the nematocysts can be introduced into the body as a result of this interaction. Every year, more than 150 million jellyfish stings occur throughout the world.
The sting can cause pain or other major health concerns depending on the species of jellyfish and how much of the skin is exposed to the poison. The stings of some jellyfish can be fatal. If you experience serious symptoms after being stung by a jellyfish, get medical attention right once.
Types of jellyfish stings
When a jellyfish’s tentacle comes into contact with a person’s skin, it causes a sting. Like tiny harpoons, stinging cells on the tentacles (called nematocytes) blast poison into the skin. The sort of sting and severity of the sting will be determined by how much of the tentacle touched the skin and the jellyfish species.
Contact with big box jellyfish in northern Australian tropical seas can result in a serious response. The poison is extremely strong, and the tentacles are lengthy, allowing them to contact more flesh.
Other jellyfish in northern seas can produce Irukandji syndrome, which causes intense agony throughout the body, not just where the stung occurred. It might take up to half an hour for the reaction to happen after the jellyfish has stung you. This sort of sting is very hazardous and needs immediate medical attention.
Bluebottles (also known as Portuguese Man-of-War) are the most frequent jellyfish sting. They may be found all over Australia’s coastline. These stings are unpleasant, but they seldom necessitate a visit to the doctor.
What are the symptoms of jellyfish stings?
Jellyfish sting symptoms vary depending on the sort of jellyfish you came into contact with. Mild jellyfish stings generally produce slight discomfort, itching, and a rash.
Jellyfish stings that are more serious might be more dangerous. If you have any of the following symptoms, you should get medical attention:
- Breathing problems
- Pain in the chest
- Muscle cramps
- Blisters on the skin
- Tingling or numbness
- Vomiting or nausea
- Swallowing problems
- If a sting becomes infected, the redness, rash, or discomfort will worsen.
What is the best jellyfish sting antidote? (Hint: it isn’t urine.)
Steps to avoid
These measures are either ineffective or unproven:
- Removing stingers with a scraper
- Using saltwater as a rinse
- Using human urine as a rinsing agent
- Using fresh water to rinse
- Application of a meat tenderizer
- Using alcohol, ethanol, or ammonia as a solvent
- Using a cloth to rub
- The use of pressure bandages
How are jellyfish stings treated?
The majority of people do not need to consult a doctor after being stung by a jellyfish. A jellyfish sting’s symptoms normally fade after a few hours. A rash might last anywhere from a few days to two weeks.
You can treat mild jellyfish stings with the following steps:
- If you were stung at the beach or in the ocean, pour sea water over the stinging region of your body. Fresh water should not be used.
- Remove any tentacles you find on your skin with tweezers.
- To stop the stinging pain and the release of the toxin, apply vinegar or rubbing alcohol to the affected area.
- Apply shaving cream or a combination of baking soda and sea water after you’ve put vinegar on the area. Scrape the mixture off with a credit card after it has dried.
- Apply calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to assist relieve discomfort. An ice pack or hot water can also be used to relieve pain and swelling.
- More serious jellyfish stings may be treated with drugs to alleviate pain, counteract the venom’s effects (antivenin), and minimize stinging and redness (antihistamine).
How can jellyfish stings be prevented?
Jellyfish may sting people at any time they are in or near the ocean. To lessen your chances of being stung, do the following:
Use safe sea products
The stinging mechanisms of most jellyfish, sea nettles, sea lice, and coral can be protected using Safe Sea Sunscreen with Jellyfish Sting Protection. It contains substances that stop the stinging process from happening, keeping you safe. Locally and worldwide, jellyfish and other marine stingers are becoming more widespread, but Safe Sea can help you prevent any unpleasant shocks! Safe Sea has been recognized as Marine Friendly and has the “Friends of the Sea” mark.
- Inquire with lifeguards or park rangers about the presence of jellyfish near your beach. (When jellyfish are observed, some beaches display a warning flag.)
- Wear a protective body suit if you plan to surf or dive in the ocean.
- Never come into contact with a jellyfish that has washed up on the beach. The venom in the tentacles of dead jellyfish can still hurt if they come into touch with it.
Many jellyfish sting home treatments have been passed down through the years or by word of mouth. Few are backed up by scientific evidence, and even specialists struggle to come up with a “one-size-fits-all” treatment for all jellyfish stings.
Because treatment suggestions vary by species, it’s a good idea to explore which kind of jellyfish are widespread in the region you’re going and how they’re treated. If there is a sting,