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Treatment of Skin injuries from Jellyfish & Portuguese man-of-war.1. First remove any adherent tentacles that will cause further delivery of venom. The tentacles should be lifted off the skin (don't scrape them off -- this causes further stings). Use a stick or some other object to remove the tentacle(s) so as not to get your fingers stung.2. Next, rinse the affected area with sea water to wash away any adherent nematocysts. DO NOT use fresh water, since this will activate the nematocysts. DO NOT scrub as this will only activate the nematocysts and cause further venom delivery.3. Nematocysts are inactivated by vinegar (or dilute acetic acid 5-10%). NOTE: If no vinegar is handy, then human urine will do in a pinch. If you have a choice in the matter, use a man's urine rather than a woman's urine. This is because females are more prone to occult urinary tract infections, thus introducing bacteria. Male urine is considered sterile, since men are much less likely to have a urinary tract infection.4. If there are any nematocyst still adherent after rinsing with sea water and inactivation with vinegar/ urine, then try the following to remove any remaining nematocysts: Dust the area with baking powder, or flour, then carefully scrape off with the dull back edge of a butter knife.... Or use aerosol spray shaving cream to coat the area, then shave off any remaining nematocyst5. Symptoms of pain can be treated with topical anesthetics; these are generally contained in sunburn preparations; look for the active ingredients like lidocaine or benzocaine.6. Persistent redness, inflammation or itchiness can be treated with topical steroid cream like Hydrocortisone 0.5% cream.7. If you begin to develop persistent muscle spasms, seek medical attention; your doctor will need to administer intravenous calcium gluconate.8. Secondary bacterial infection may set in, especially if vesicles form. If this happens you will need to see a doctor for antibiotics.
When stung by a jellyfish, first aid may be in order. Though most jellyfish stings are not deadly, some stings, such as those perpetrated by the box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri) may be fatal. Serious stings may cause anaphylaxis and eventual death, and hence people stung by jellyfish must get out of the water to avoid drowning. In these serious cases, advanced professional care must be sought. This care may include administration of an antivenom and other supportive care such as required to treat the symptoms of anaphylactic shock. The most serious threat that humans face from jellyfish is the sting of the Irukandji, which has the most potent and deadly poison of any known jellyfish species.There are three goals of first aid for uncomplicated jellyfish stings: prevent injury to rescuers, inactivate the nematocysts, and remove any tentacles stuck on the patient. To prevent injury to rescuers, barrier clothing should be worn. This protection may include anything from panty hose to wet suits to full-body sting-proof suits. Inactivating the nematocysts, or stinging cells, prevents further injection of venom into the patient.Vinegar (3 to 10% acetic acid in water) should be applied for box jellyfish stings. However, vinegar is not recommended for Portuguese Man o' War stings. In the case of stings on or around the eyes, vinegar may be placed on a towel and dabbed around the eyes, but not in them. Salt water may also be used in case vinegar is not readily available. Fresh water should not be used if the sting occurred in salt water, as a change in pH can cause the release of additional venom. Rubbing the wound, or using alcohol, spirits, ammonia, or urine will encourage the release of venom and should be avoided.Once deactivated, the stinging cells must be removed. This can be accomplished by picking off tentacles left on the body. First aid providers should be careful to use gloves or another readily available barrier device to prevent personal injury, and to follow standard universal precautions. After large pieces of the jellyfish are removed, shaving cream may be applied to the area and a knife edge, safety razor, or credit card may be used to take away any remaining nematocysts.Beyond initial first aid, antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be used to control skin irritation (pruritus)
Every year for a few weeks (no specific month) jellyfish accumulate, in the biobay, that sting. There is always the very occasional sting; but, there are sometimes periods lasting a few weeks wherein a lot of people get stung. Approximately 100 people swim in the biobay each night and your tour operator should inform you if it is a period when there are a lot of stinging jellyfish. If you are swimming with young children be sure to ask about recent occurrences. Most of the stings are mild, it can really hurt for awhile, but the pain is usually over with rather quickly, should you get a more severe sting it may last to the next day.NOT RUBBING is the best treatment. Applying some vinegar to stop the nematocysts from firing new stingers would be the second treatment. Then remove any 'gossamer' strings you can find. ( the skin on your fingers usually cannot feel the stinging so removal with your fingers is ok). After this, the best thing is very hot water ( but not burning) and that is about all you can do but wait for the pain to go away. Some people use amonia. I suggest you do NOT use meat tenderizer.
I heard from a doctor, that urine was useless. Although i can not remember his reason why. He too said that the subject was confusing, as there was plenty of anecdotal evidence to say it did work!There are plenty of stories about urine working on bites, stings, etc. But, not much if any medical evidence to back it up.
If I ever get stung, I think I'll stick to the vinegar.
Quote from: Carolyn on 10/05/2007 14:23:29If I ever get stung, I think I'll stick to the vinegar.If vinegar is available to you at the time, it is certainly the response that that has the highest confidence. The issue about urine was only to be used (if at all) in the case that vinegar was not available to you.
Thank you everyone. I will be sure to keep a bottle in my car anytime I go to the beach especially considering the alternative.
Quote from: Carolyn on 10/05/2007 18:10:50Thank you everyone. I will be sure to keep a bottle in my car anytime I go to the beach especially considering the alternative.make sure it's Balsamic Vinegar.......ewe just never know when ewe may also need to make a salad !!!........I myself...maintain a stock every day condiments in my glove compartment...including a rotisserie grill and a chef !
Neil, Please make sure it's an island with an internet link or we'd miss you.Anyway, I'm sure that urine has worked very well in the past for treating jellyfish stings. It's likely to wash off any remaining bits of tentacles and so stop things getting worse and it's also likely to have a great placebo effect.(BTW, pointless obseravtion; in my local supermarket the balsamic vinegar is more expensive than the champagne)
LOL I am with you Carolyn...vinegar for me as a man may not be handy enough to urinate on a jellyfish sting...LOL
Quote from: moonfire on 10/05/2007 21:24:25LOL I am with you Carolyn...vinegar for me as a man may not be handy enough to urinate on a jellyfish sting...LOLHaha. Can you imagine flagging down the first man that comes along and asking for his......erhmmm......assistance?