Thursday, June 1, 2023


Beach Hazards: How to treat a jellyfish sting

As the weather warms and more of us head towards the oceans it’s a good time to talk about jellyfish and how to treat a jellyfish sting, as this is something many of us are likely to encounter. The team from CPR Certified has produced a useful short, albeit dry as the Sahara sands, video to help. (Hey, it’s the content, not the style, right?)

Stings from some species of jellyfish such as Portuguese Man o’ war, sea nettle, sea wasp and other species can be very painful and can, in some instances, be serious.

Symptoms of a jellyfish sting

  • Redness and swelling at the sting site
  • Mild skin rash
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Changes in pulse rate
  • Headache

How to treat

In the unfortunate instance that you or someone you know is dealing with a jellyfish sting, here’s what to do:

  • Always wear gloves (if possible) when treating a jellyfish sting.
  • Wash the sting area with salt water. Yes, ocean water is fine.
  • Soak the sting area in a solution of half distilled white vinegar and half water for about 30 minutes. Rinse the area then re-soak again.
  • For less serious stings (or if you can’t get vinegar), apply a paste of fine beach sand and water to the sting area and let sit for 30 minutes or until dry. Carefully scrape the sand off with a flat surface, such as a credit card, to remove the jellyfish tentacles.
  • Lastly, you can choose to apply a cream containing a pain killer, an antihistamine, and/or a corticosteroid.



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Larry Lee
16 days ago

I don’t know where you obtained your advice for first-aid for jellyfish stings, but a quick internet visit to the Mayo Clinic website suggests removing the tentacles with fine tweezers instead of trying to scrape them off with a credit card. Soaking in hot water for 20-45 minutes until the pain subsides is useful. Not scalding water but around 110 degrees F.
Not to claim Mayo Clinic advice is always right, but it is usually a good starting point for such information.

19 days ago
This happened in Oregon and I saw on the BBC.

John S
20 days ago

My Mom always used Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. IIRC, it worked pretty well.

Cheri Sicard
20 days ago
Reply to  John S

I have never heard of that. Interesting.

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