JellyFish Facts

Vinegar and Jellyfish Stings

Vinegar and Jellyfish Stings picture

Vinegar and Jellyfish Stings

Every year, especially in the warmer months, swimmers are having encounters with jellyfish. Every jellyfish sting, no matter what the species, is very painful and if left untreated can cause excessive pain and itching red welts that may last for days. A jellyfish sting will easily ruin a fun venture to the beach and untreated it can cause severe pain and even death.

There is a treatment that you can prepare at home and take with you for use on jellyfish stings. Vinegar is very useful in treating these stings and when combined with baking soda and sterile water it is extremely effective. Vinegar and baking soda together work by breaking down the poisonous cells which are responsible for causing the painful reactions experienced by victims when the tentacles of a jellyfish come into contact with human skin. This solution is removed after a few minutes have passed and the affected area of the sting is then cleansed with an antiseptic solution. If you are treated by a medical practitioner you will also be treated with an anaesthetic product after disinfectant has been applied to the sting site.

Having vinegar on hand when you plan to go swimming may in fact save a life. It has been reported that when vinegar is used on a box jellyfish sting it is able to stop the venom from being discharged by the deadly marine creature. When you are stung by a box jellyfish it does not release the full amount of its venom at the one time. Breaking the tentacles off from the body of the jellyfish will not prevent the venom from being discharged. With or without the body attached, the tentacles of the jellyfish will continue to release its venom. Reports have shown that if a volume of 2 litres or more of vinegar is applied over the affected skin for more than 30 seconds the venom will no longer be discharged by the tentacles. This vinegar may save a life by stopping the victim from getting a fatal dosage of this deadly box of jellyfish venom.

Other methods have been tried such as the use of other acids like lemonade and tomato juice but these were not able to completely cease the venom discharge where as vinegar was able to completely stop the venom from releasing. Vinegar is thought to not work on jellyfish stings though. In a jellyfish known as Physalia Physalis the use of vinegar as a treatment seems to have the opposite effect and actually encourage a limited amount of venom to be discharged rather than stop it. Despite this, vinegar is still your best weapon against jellyfish stings and is recommended by many councils and institutions in Australia as being the best treatment for jellyfish stings.

A two litre bottle of vinegar is not costly, and can mean the difference between life and death for those who have been stung by these ghostly sea creatures. In thirty seconds you can stop the venom from killing you, in three minutes it may be too late. It's always best to have a bottle nearby when you venture out into the water, one little bottle and thirty seconds could save your or another's life.

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

Learn more about Jellyfish Stings

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

Written by and Sudarsana Sinha.

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