Jellyfish, what to do if you are stung
La jellyfish sting is a skin reaction that arises after accidental contact with the tentacles of this marine organism. The sting is very annoying as the tentacles release stinging substances into the skin as well as causing pain, redness, itching and swelling.
A jellyfish sting is usually harmless, and after the initial discomfort, you will feel no more pain; less often, complications such as allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock can arise.
In fact, the severity of jellyfish sting depends on various factors, such as:
- type of jellyfish
- geographical area of the’incident
- extent of the affected area
- time of exposure to the irritant’agent
- age, build and health status of the person affected
Usually, the stinging sensation resolves after about 10-20 minutes, but the itching remains, so there’s not much one can do except wait for the painful (and more annoying) symptoms to disappear on their own.
Some small steps that can be taken to alleviate pain are:
- washing the affected part with sea water so as to dilute the toxins released by the tentacles
- Clean the skin of any remaining filaments with a plastic card or knife
Instead it is good to avoid excessive heat and rubbing the affected part with hands, sand or stones.
Also, although the temptation might be strong, resist and avoid scratching because it will only release additional poison.
Above all, avoid grandmother’s remedies and do not use ammonia, lemon, urine, vinegar or alcohol because they may only further inflame the painful body part.
To soothe itching best at most use an aluminum chloride-based cream or gel.
If after the jellyfish sting, the skin reaction becomes very extensive and is associated with labored breathing, mental confusion, profuse sweating, paleness and disorientation, it is a good idea to go to the emergency room urgently