So you’ve been stung by a jellyfish. The good news is that there is no requirement for you to have your friend pee on you. The unfortunate news is that every alternative treatment you’ve heard of would probably just make the problem much more severe. A sting from a jellyfish is comparable to receiving several poison injections at once from a large number of very small needles.
- Their tentacles contain millions of tiny lances lodged within nematocysts, and upon contact, these nematocysts release the miniature stingers, which then attach themselves into your skin.
- They hook on like the tiny burrs that get caught in your dog’s fur, and then they expel a torrent of poison.
- It’s possible that you may pass away in a matter of minutes if the jellyfish that stings you is a box jellyfish, for example.
If you were a character in a popular television show from the 1990s, you were probably thinking something like this: “You’re aware that you can just urinate on it, right? It is well knowledge that the ammonia or another substance can relieve the sting.” However, you are incorrect in thinking that.
- Know what else doesn’t work? Almost anything that comes up in a Google search.
- Recently, two researchers from the University of Hawaii at Mnoa conducted an assessment of those alleged cures, and they discovered that of all the home-style therapies, vinegar was the only one that was actually a good idea.
On Wednesday, they presented their findings in the article that was published in the journal Toxins. When you search for “what to do if you’re stung by a jellyfish,” the majority of the websites that show up with results provide information that is contradictory to one another.
- Some people recommend washing the tentacles in seawater, then scraping them off, and then dousing them in vinegar or hot water.
- Others appear to be unclear about the sequence in which the stages are to be completed, yet they support practically every possible solution at some point throughout the procedure.
There doesn’t appear to be a consensus on which response is correct. However, the findings that come from genuine scientific research are significantly more reliable. First and foremost, you should cease attempting to scrape the tentacles away. Because the nematocysts of jellyfish are activated in part by pressure, prodding them only causes them to expel more of their toxic content when they rupture.
You will end up with fewer stingers in your skin if you draw out the lances with tweezers, but the venom is what truly hurts and has the potential to kill you. If you pull out the lances, you will end up with less stingers in your skin. It is possible that you will die if you attempt to remove the tentacles of a box jellyfish after it has stung you.
They are extremely dangerous, and coercing them into releasing even trace quantities of extra poison might mean the difference between “I need serious painkillers” and “welcome to my death.” They are capable of inflicting a great deal of damage. And even if you’re merely stung by an ordinary jellyfish that won’t kill you, you don’t want any more poison in your body than is absolutely required.
- If you find yourself in a bind, your best choice is to soak your skin and any tentacles that are attached to it in vinegar.
- Find the most concentrated form of whatever it is that you can get your hands on, then pour it on top.
- Vinegar renders the nematocysts of the jelly inoperable, preventing them from releasing their venom and ensuring that no further venom will be released during the process of removing the tentacles.
Naturally, even after you have treated the stingers with vinegar, you will still need to remove them with tweezers. You either have to do it yourself or find a friend who is willing to put on safety gear and assist you. According to study, alcohol of any type can also make the nematocysts fire more, so if you’ve been stung by a jellyfish and the pain is excruciating, don’t go pouring your beach beer on it.
- Even though seawater isn’t harmful, rinsing away the tentacles just creates new openings for the stingers to attach themselves to other regions of the body.
- Trying to remove the tentacles is pointless.
- Shaving cream and baking soda, both of which are said to be effective at blocking the stingers, really have very little effect.
And in a stunning turn of events, the therapy that proved to be the most effective for a jellyfish sting was—get ready for this one—a medication specifically formulated to cure jellyfish stings. Sting No More. Vinegar, which inhibits the nematocysts, and urea, which helps dissolve the sticky proteins that enable tentacles attach to surfaces, are both components of the spray.
- This was the only therapy available at the time that enabled the tentacles to be removed by washing them away rather than by plucking them.
- If you have a background in chemistry, you might be asking why urine is not considered a viable treatment option given that urea, which is included in urine, is one of the active ingredients in the therapy that is considered to be the most successful for jellyfish stings.
However, here’s the deal: while urea does, in fact, assist in removing tentacles from skin that has been stung, human urine is typically too dilute to be effective in this regard. And while the urine of your well-intentioned friend almost definitely won’t include enough urea to save you, it may contain enough salt to cause the nematocysts in your body to release further venom into you.
- Heat should be applied to the wound once the jelly has been removed from it using vinegar and tweezers (or some super-concentrated urea), if appropriate.
- It may appear as though you would benefit from applying ice to the wound in order to alleviate the pain, but the truth is that heat actually inhibits the venom’s ability to do its job, which means that in the long term, you will sustain less harm.
For one variety of jellyfish that was investigated, the injury area was actually increased by a factor of two when ice packs were present. Therefore, the next time you want to spend some time at the beach, make sure to bring along some vinegar. You might also try donning pantyhose; the fine mesh provides protection from the stings of a variety of species.
Should I put vinegar on a jellyfish sting?
Advice on Treating the Effects of a Jellyfish Sting – What You Ought to Know Regarding the Stings of Jellyfish:
- The majority of marine stings are brought on by various species of jellyfish.
- The vast majority of stings pose little danger. The agony is comparable to that of a bee sting.
- Jellies are characterized by their lengthy tentacles that are armed with a multitude of stingers.
- Still capable of inflicting painful stings are tentacle fragments that have washed up on shore.
- They leave behind crimson marks that are excruciatingly painful.
- Please find below some helpful information regarding care.
Rinse the Large Tentacles in Sea Water in the First Step to Remove Them:
- Clean the place with water from the sea. This will assist in removing any big tentacles that have been entangled in the skin.
- It is not necessary to rinse with clean water (will trigger stingers).
- Do not scrape or massage area (will trigger stingers).
- Continue doing this until you are able to obtain some vinegar.
Rinse with vinegar to alleviate the sting (with the exception of Chesapeake Bay jellyfish; see step 6 for further information).
- Rinse the affected region with vinegar containing 5% acetic acid for a period of 15 minutes.
- Reason: Prevents the stingers, if still connected to the skin, from inflicting pain on the victim.
- Caution: Do not use with the jellyfish found in the Chesapeake Bay. (The reason for this is that it may set off stingers. Instead, try rinsing your skin with baking soda to get rid of these stinging).
- When treating any kind of sting, never use rubbing alcohol. Reason: This will cause the stingers to activate.
- If you are unable to obtain vinegar, the next best option is to scrape the stingers off.
Scrape the area to remove any little stingers: this is the third step.
- Remove any stingers that may be seen by scraping them off. Make use of the curved edge of a credit card or the blade of a dinner knife.
- Avoid touching anything with your naked fingers. (The reason for this is because you will receive stings on your hands.) If you have gloves, you should put them on.
- After that, cover the affected region with shaving cream or any other gentle lotion. Repeat the scraping of the region.
- Shaving with a razor is necessary to remove any stingers that have become embedded in body hair.
Step 4: Perform a Second Vinegar Rinse (with the exception of Chesapeake Bay Jellyfish, which should proceed to Step 6)
- Maintain a vinegar-soaked towel on the affected region.
- Continue doing this for the next 15 minutes.
Baking soda rinses are effective in preventing stings from Chesapeake Bay jellyfish, often known as sea nettles.
- Rinse the affected region for fifteen minutes with a solution consisting of sea water and baking soda.
- This prevents the stingers from inflicting pain on the skin even if they are still adhering to it.
- The next step is to scrape or shave off any little stingers that remain.
- Caution: Do not use vinegar rinse.
- Acetaminophen-containing products are recommended for use in the treatment of pain (such as Tylenol).
- Ibuprofen-based products are still another option (such as Advil).
- Use as required.
A Cold Pack to Help with the Pain:
- When you have discomfort or swelling, rubbing with an ice cube might help. You might also use a damp washcloth, preferably one that is cool. Perform the steps listed above for a total of ten minutes.
- Warning: Do not use until the stingers have been extracted. (The reason for this is that stingers will be activated by water or ice.)
Using Steroid Cream to Alleviate Itching:
- Applying 1% hydrocortisone cream (brand name: Cortaid) on the sting may help relieve itching and swelling.
- There is no need to obtain a prescription.
- Utilize thrice each and every day.
- Put the cream in the refrigerator to keep it cold. (The reason for this is that it is more comfortable when put on cold.)
What You Can Count on:
- Minor stings: The severe, searing pain should start to subside within one to two hours. The appearance of red spots and lines often improves within 24 hours. The red lines might be there for one to two weeks.
- Blisters will form within six hours if the sting is strong enough. If blisters occur, you need to consult a medical professional right once.
When to call your doctor:
- The skin develops blisters
- Extreme discomfort that lasts for more than two hours
- If the rash or redness lasts for more than two weeks,
- You believe that it is necessary for your child to be observed.
- Your child is getting much worse.
Why does vinegar help box jellyfish stings?
In the event that a jellyfish strikes you, what should you do? Vinegar has been shown to be the most effective treatment, according to research conducted by scientists. Other common cures, such as urine, lemon juice, and shaving foam, may actually make the problem even more severe.
- Rinsing the affected area with vinegar before applying heat was shown to be the most effective therapy for stings caused by the Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis), according to a study that was published not too long ago in the journal Toxins.
- It was discovered that the therapy consisting of seawater and ice did more harm than help, despite its widespread recommendation.
Research was carried out on both the Atlantic and the Pacific man o’ war by Dr. Tom Doyle, a biologist from NUI Galway and one of the co-authors of the publication. According to him, the findings constitute a 180-degree about-face. He remarked, “For me it was certainly surprising as we have been advising saltwater and ice for the last 10 years.” “For me it was certainly shocking as we have been prescribing seawater and ice.” “But unfortunately, this is how science works; sometimes, we just have to admit defeat and admit that we were incorrect.
- We started from scratch and tried out several different approaches.
- There is no room for questioning our results.
- Vinegar has been shown beyond any reasonable doubt to provide the desired results.” The researchers examined the effects of several solutions on human and sheep blood cells that were suspended in agar.
It was discovered that the procedure of scraping away tentacles increased pressure on the damaged region. This caused the stinging capsules to discharge more venom into the victim of the attack. However, using vinegar was demonstrated to block future release of the tentacles’ venom, which made it possible to remove the tentacles without risk.
Red blood cells were destroyed at a lower rate when the affected region was heated with a heatpack or by submerging it in water heated to 45 degrees Celsius. In contrast, it was shown that washing with seawater might make stings worse by increasing the dispersion of venom capsules, while using cold packs can encourage them to release more venom.
It was also discovered that the notorious urine theory, which became popular thanks to an episode of Friends, made stings worse. The outcomes were comparable whether baking soda, shaving cream, soap, lemon juice, alcohol, or cola were used. Although vinegar is a common treatment for the stings caused by other types of jellyfish, the man-o’-war sting has long been regarded an exception, and several guidelines advise against using it.
Even though the man-o’-war is not technically a jellyfish but rather a siphonophore, the researchers who conducted this study are now advocating that all stings be treated in the same manner. This is in spite of the fact that the man-o’-war is unique. Dr. Lisa Gershwin, a biologist and a specialist in jellyfish, acknowledges that the treatment with vinegar is effective but expresses worry with the advise to use hot water.
“Hot water does take away the pain, but this is a neurological process; it has nothing to do with denaturing the venom,” she added. “Hot water has nothing to do with denaturing the venom.” “New water stimulates discharge, and applying heat causes the capillaries to dilate, which makes it easier for the venom to travel deeper into the body.” The surge of man-of-war jellyfish around the beaches of Europe during the summer of 2016 served as the impetus for this research, which expanded upon the results of a previous study on box jellyfish carried out by the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
What type of vinegar do you use for jellyfish stings?
There Is No Completely Effective Treatment – Researchers in Australia, home to the most dangerous species of box jellyfish, have devoted years to analyzing the venom produced by jellyfish stings. Nothing ever goes according to plan, and that much is a given.
- It has been demonstrated that the best way to rinse box jellyfish is with vinegar that contains 5% acetic acid.
- It prevents unfired nematocysts from being able to inject venom by rendering them inert.
- In the event that vinegar is unavailable, the vast majority of studies recommend using sea water to remove any lingering nematocysts.
It is not a good idea to drink freshwater since it causes nematocysts to release their poison. A word of warning concerning vinegar: research shows that vinegar makes the pain of Physalia stings, including those from the Portuguese Man of War, bluebottle, and other species, far worse.
Can you put vinegar on a bee sting?
Baking soda and water should be combined in a spoonful-sized amount, and then the mixture should be applied to the affected area using a cotton swab or ball in order to help neutralize the venom. Vinegar can be used to alleviate the itchiness. Vinegar, in its purest form, can serve as an astringent and prevent you from scratching the bite, which can lead to a worsening of the infection or inflammation.
Do you put vinegar on a blue bottle sting?
Anything else? Although topical heat may be useful for Hawaiian box jellyfish, there are no studies to show that it is effective for Australian box jellyfish (C. fleckeri), or for avoiding Irukandji syndrome, which may accompany stings caused by Carukia barnesi.