What not to do when a jellyfish stings you: Debunking myths and legends

Who does not remember Ch friends Where does Monica get stung by a jellyfish? The remedy used by Joey and Chandler is one of the most iconic moments of the series and also a great myth: urinating on the sting. Every summer, expert voices advise on how to deal with summer setbacks and there are still those who recommend this method.

Although jellyfish stings aren’t usually dangerous, they can be annoying: They show symptoms such as itching, pain and inflammation. Our first and simplest reaction is to wash the area with sea water without scrubbing, never with sweet, as the Red Cross explains. It is also important to use tweezers to remove the remaining tentacles. If there is an ambulance station nearby, it is recommended to go there to treat the wound with appropriate methods.

More marine animals

It’s not just jellyfish that can scare away vacationers. The Animal Assistance Group (Semes) of the Spanish Society of Emergency and Emergency Medicine has developed a series of tips to prevent these accidents, most often caused by accidental contact rather than by a direct attack by the animal, from destroying leaves.

The first tip is to respect marine habitats as much as possible, which are filled with people every summer. “We must respect the marine environment and interfere as little as possible with the lives of its animals,” warned Dr. Beatriz Rodriguez, coordinator of the group. In addition to cleaning the area with seawater, he explains that it can also be done with 50% diluted vinegar, removing foreign objects (claws, spines …) with tweezers or something else and applying indirect local cold without rubbing (ice wrapped in cloth). It is important to note that you should never directly handle or scratch the bite.

Dawn at the new aid station on Fuengirola beach.

Juan Jose Alarcon Adalid

On the contrary, it is necessary to avoid douching with fresh water, pressure dressings or direct suctioning. To take painkillers, antihistamines, creams to relieve symptoms, antibiotics, or even get a tetanus shot, you should follow your doctor’s advice.

Jellyfish is one of the most famous marine animals, which accounts for more than 60% of the cases of infection, and whose presence and diversity are increasing due to climate change and the intensification of fishing; The most problematic area for this animal is the tentacles that accumulate its venom, so if it must be dealt with it must be done through its body. Because of this, there are many voices who insist that they do not touch each other even if they die, as they can continue to keep their venom active.

Sea urchin of the species 'Paracentrotus lividus', on the coast near Marseille, France

Sea urchin of the species ‘Paracentrotus lividus’, on the coast near Marseille, France


Meanwhile, a spider fish or scorpion and stingray are usually buried in the sand, so it is not difficult to set foot on them. The advice in this case is to walk in shoes along the beach. If someone bites us, the foreign body must be removed and its thermal toxins neutralized. The affected organ of our body must be placed in hot water at a temperature of 45 degrees Celsius for 60-90 minutes.

Other animals are torpedo fish, electric or stingrays, common on the Andalusian coast and which can generate shocks that are not usually fatal. There are also sea urchins, which are usually attached to rocks or on the sea floor and which more than one person ends up with.

In addition, there are others in the deep sea level but given Promote some water sports (diving, fishing, snorkeling …) are becoming more frequent, such as anemones (sea noodles), corals, sponges, stars or sea cucumbers causing mainly irritant contact dermatitis and, occasionally, conjunctivitis.


Woman diving in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)

third parties

There is also a skin rash caused by contact with the larvae of Edwarsiella lineata, which remain in contact with the skin, usually in the swimsuit area. In this case, they must be removed and washed thoroughly with sea water.

In any case, they are usually mild localized lesions and present with symptoms such as itching, pain and inflammation. It concludes that in the event of a serious reaction characterized by seizures, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, fever or anaphylactic shock, “emergency services should be activated and the victim transferred to a hospital setting where they will be treated”.

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