Science Questions

Sat, 24th Jun 2006

Part of the show Naked Q&A and The Life of Benjamin Franklin

Question

Gavin via email asked:

In response to your discussion last week about whether you can use urine on jellyfish stings: I lived in Hawaii for many years and always carried meat tenderiser as a cure for jellyfish stings. If we got a sea urchin sting, we would definitely wee on that because there's a theory that the sea urchin spines get stuck in your foot and if you wee on it, it dissolves the sea urchin spines. Is this true?

Answer

I've had a look around and found that nothing really works for these kinds of stings. Urine is used is used as a folk cure all over the place, basically because it's easily accessible. It's used for anything from bee stings to jellyfish stings. A lot of it may be to do with the placebo effect, but it might also be to do with the fluid washing over the skin relieving some of the pain or washing away any remaining sting particles. If you do get stung, the best thing to do would be to get yourself to hospital.

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