JellyFish Facts

Jellyfish Stung Me

Jellyfish Stung Me picture

Jellyfish Stung Me

The lure of the sea is irresistible and you just want to swim in the vastness of the blue waters. Everything is perfect, and you are happily swimming in the waters just a few yards away from the shore and suddenly you feel a numbing pain on your thigh. The pain is excruciating and you can hardly keep up your swimming and turn towards the shore. Your mind is trying to come to terms with the pain, and a part of your mind is saying, "A jellyfish stung me".

The perfect day at the beach has been rudely interrupted for many people by a nasty jellyfish sting. Jellyfish are found in all the oceans of the world and many of the venomous varieties are inhabiting waters near the shores of popular beaches. Although the jellyfish does not attack humans, as it does not have a brain to distinguish between creatures, it has a reflex mechanism based on chemical inputs. Certain chemicals on the skin of a person will trigger a response in the jellyfish to sting. The tentacles of the jellyfish are lined with numerous stinger cells called nematocysts, that have a firing mechanism. When a swimmer inadvertently brushes past a jellyfish, these stinger cells are fired and like tiny harpoons, they get embeded into the skin of the person, and the venom gets injected.

The first thing to do, when you feel a jellyfish sting, is to turn back towards the shore immediately. The toxicity of the venom will depend on the type of jellyfish that has stung you, and if it is a strong venom, your ability to swim will be greatly diminished. So call for help and start moving towards the shore. Once on the shore do not give into the urge of rubbing the wound. There might still be certain nematocysts which have not released their venom and rubbing will make them do so. If there is vinegar available immediately pour it liberally on the affected part. Jellyfish venom is alkali-based and the acetic acid in the vinegar will neutralise the venom.

If vinegar is not available put a clump of hot sand on the stung part and although this is not as effective as vinegar it will still help to a great extent. Never use fresh water to rinse your wound, unless the sting happens to be on the eye. Sea water is the best for rinsing, and afterwards take a closer look at the stung area to see whether any stinger cells are still embeded. These should be carefully removed by tweezers or a piece of cloth. Do not let your bare fingers come in contact with these splinter-like stinger cells, as they can potentially still sting. You can also scrape them off by a card or a blunt knife.

People have also found meat tenderizer or baking soda just as effective as vinegar. It will all depend on the availability of these items, and how fast you can get them. As the probability of getting stung by a jellyfish is increasing, many people now carry lotions which are meant for curing jellyfish stings. These lotions are much more effective than vinegar and are also able to bring down the pain quite effectively.

Find jellyfish sting protection and relief products on Ebay (best price) or your local diving supply store.

Learn more about Jellyfish Stings and Jellyfish 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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