JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Myths

Jellyfish Myths picture

Jellyfish Myths

Jellyfish are curious creatures. They are mostly made up of water. They do not have a sensory system or a brain. Little is known about jellyfish, which sets the stage for many myths being created about jellyfish, their ways and treatments for their stings.

It is a myth that all jellyfish will sting human beings. This is not true. Jellyfish are of various species and types, like all animals. Some are completely harmless, such as the Comb jellyfish, which has no tentacles or stinging cells. Some others, however, such as Moon jellyfish, seat nettles and box jellyfish can sting you.

Jellyfish are adept at swimming and are waiting to prey. This is another myth. Jellyfish mostly drift along the water. They have no ability to push themselves along the water by any means, which is why you hardly ever see jellyfish going against the current. They are always floating around aimlessly, and if you come into contact with one, it is not because they were aiming for you.

Some people believe that staying in persistent motion while being in the ocean will help you avoid a jellyfish sting. This is not true. Movement created in the water leads to eddies forming, and these can actually thrust floating jellyfish towards the source of the movement. This is why you hear claims of jellyfish 'following' people. If this happens, the best thing to do is stop moving for a while and then slowly swim out of the way. The jellyfish's path will then stop being influenced by your movements.

People try to protect themselves against jellyfish stings by netting jellyfish. This is a virtually impossible task as every time you remove some of them from the water, new ones will come along with the next wave or current of water. Jellyfishes have very fragile bodies. Netting them can actually cause their stinging tentacles to break off, which makes them practically impossible to see. Therefore you may be increasing your chances of getting stung because you cannot see the broken tentacles floating in the water in order to avoid them.

A very important myth that needs to be cleared up is that rubbing sand on a sting helps. This is completely untrue, and only makes the sting worse by possibly wounding your skin, causing the toxins to go deeper, causing possible infections. Treating jellyfish stings with urine is another myth - it doesn't always help because it actually causes some types of jellyfish to fire off even more toxins. The same goes for vinegar.

The best way to guard against encounters with jellyfish is to wear appropriate gear. In warm water a dive skin and jellyfish gloves and hood should do the trick. In colder conditions a wet suit will be sufficient. Even so, jellyfish tend to get stuck to the one place that is uncovered, and applying some petroleum jelly on these areas can ward off jellyfish completely. Hot water is the best remedy for jellyfish stings, or be sure to keep a commercial preparation meant to treat stings nearby.

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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