Summertime means warm days, a lot of fresh air and the chance to go to the pool or ocean. Certainly, all of these activities involve risk. And one of the risks in swimming in the ocean is that you may encounter a jellyfish. Most of the time a jellyfish sting isn’t going to send you to the hospital, but it is important to know when it will, and what to do for the common jellyfish sting.
First of all, people should know to call emergency if the person displays signs of a severe allergic reaction (difficulty breathing and other symptoms), if the sting is from a box jellyfish and if the sting covers more than half an arm or leg. Box jellyfish are deadly and are most commonly found in coastal waters off Northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific.
Assuming that you’ve experienced a regular jellyfish sting, here are some tips. Many people believe that you should urinate on the area that has been stung, the NHS however recommends applying shaving cream to prevent the spread of toxins. They also say you should use a razor blade, credit card or shell to remove any poisonous sacs that are stuck to the skin. Others recommend rinsing the area with vinegar for thirty seconds or more, but some say that this can make some stings worse. If this isn’t available, use baking soda. Soak the area in hot water for at least 20 minutes or use cold packs if you don’t have access to hot water.
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Any discomfort can then be treated with a hydrocortisone cream and Tylenol or other over the counter pain medication.
Be safe in the water and know what to do in times of trouble.