JellyFish Facts

How Jellyfish Sting

How Jellyfish Sting picture

How Jellyfish Sting

While not all jellyfish sting, a large percentage of them do and a few of them are even poisonous. Infact, the Chironex fleckeri, a type of cubozoan species of jellyfish, is said to be the most poisonous animal ever- venom from a single animal can kill 60 people. It will greatly help to know a few facts relating to How Jellyfish Sting; and related remedies.

Poison (or venom when it is injected), is of utmost important to a jellyfish's survival- both in terms of finding food and keeping off predators. To understand how jellyfish sting, it is important to consider their physical construction. Jellyfish are made up of 95% water. They consist of an umbrella like structure and a number of tentacles that hang downwards. It is on these tentacles that they have what are called 'Nematocysts'. These nematocysts are individual cells usually on the outer surface of an organism. In the case of a jellyfish, the concentration of nematocysts along the tentacles and the size of the tentacles that decide how badly you are going to be affected by the sting. This of course is when we are considering jellyfish that are capable of delivering toxic stings. The species of jellyfish also plays an important role in deciding the intensity of the sting.

Different species of jellyfish have different sizes- they can be anything from smaller than an inch to as large as a hundred feet in length. The larger the tentacles, the more the number of nematocysts and the greater is the contact area; larger is the affected area on the body. The jellyfish has no brain; so it is the nervous system of the jellyfish that carries out the stinging functions, in response to external stimuli. Jellyfish sting when they come in contact with human skin- a sort of thread, present in the nematocyst unfolds and pierces the flesh. The venom is injected through it (if the species is poisonous).

The human body's reaction to a jellyfish sting can range form mild rash and irritation to excruciating pain, increased blood pressure, cardiac arrest and even death, depending on the species and the size. A sting delivered by the Chironex fleckeri is capable of causing death if not attended to immediately. Death can be as instant as 3 to 5 minutes. Close to 6000 deaths have been recorded so far from all jellyfish stings. Some famous incidents relating to jellyfish deaths are available in our article on Jellyfish Deaths

Among the most popular remedies to treat jellyfish stings is the use of vinegar, which has saved a lot of lives. The contact area must be soaked in vinegar immediately. Sometimes, tentacles may get detached from the jellyfish and remain lodged on the flesh. Vinegar must be used to immerse the affected area and then the tentacles must be removed using protection; for they are still capable of stinging. A substance known as jellyfish squish was developed recently and has been effective in mollifying to some extent the great deal of pain the sting causes. Useful information relating to safety treatment is available at Safe Sea Lotion

Learn more about Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish Sting Safety

Learn more about Jellyfish, different Jellyfish Species, general Jellyfish Information, Jellyfish Pets and Jellyfish Safety




Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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