Guillaume Barucq
Doctor/Author of Surfers’ Survival Guide
Do not rub jellyfish injuries because you only make them worse by releasing the venom from the stinging cells into the skin. Photo: TheBrockenInaGlory

Do not rub jellyfish injuries because you only make them worse by releasing the venom from the stinging cells into the skin. Photo: TheBrockenInaGlory


The Inertia

Jellyfish are sometimes found close to the coast depending on the tides and currents, and sometimes, surfers get stung. So what should you do if you’re stung by a Jellyfish? Here are a few tips:

- Remove gently what’s left of the tentacles off the skin with a pair of tweezers or with two pairs of gloves. In order to get rid of the invisible fragments, apply some wet sand or shaving cream to the affected area and shave it off with the help of a wax comb or a credit card.

- Flood the area with sea water or saline solution (preferably warm but not too much in order to avoid burns). Vinegar can be used for some species but not with the bluebottle (a.k.a. the “Portuguese Man O’ War” or Physalia physalis. They look like a jellyfish but are not). Some recommend urine, but it seems quite complicated and acrobatic to pee on it…This method has not been proven, but it appears that sterility (excluding infection) and heat of urine could potentially be effective.

- After removal, disinfect the area with sterile gauze soaked in an antiseptic solution.

- Ice or cold packs are effective to provide analgesia in most cases of jellyfish stings.

- In case of an intense itchy rash, your doctor will prescribe a soothing care cream, a corticosteroid cream, antihistaminics or analgesics to relieve the pain.

- You need to check on the wound every day. Go back and see the doctor if it looks infected or inflammatory.

- You must receive a tetanus booster shot if you have not had a recent vaccination.

Things to avoid:

- Do not rub the injuries because you would only make them worse by releasing the venom from the stinging cells into the skin.

- Do not rinse the wound with fresh water that would burst the remaining cells and release the poison.

- Do not suck out the venom.

- Do not touch a jellyfish stranded on the sand; a dead jellyfish still stings…

  • http://carletessaez.tumblr.com/ Carlos Saez.

    Useful ! Thanks for sharing and caring.

  • Aitch

    For Bluebottles, shower the area with as hotter water as you can stand. The result is the poison leeching out of the effected area and less over-all pain. Alternating hot water and a cool compress is pretty relieving, but I’ve never found anything as useful for those Blueys as a hot shower.

  • Aitch

    For Bluebottles, shower the area with as hotter water as you can stand. The result is the poison leeching out of the effected area and less over-all pain. Alternating hot water and a cool compress is pretty relieving, but I’ve never found anything as useful for those Blueys as a hot shower.

  • Aitch

    For Bluebottles, shower the area with as hotter water as you can stand. The result is the poison leeching out of the effected area and less over-all pain. Alternating hot water and a cool compress is pretty relieving, but I’ve never found anything as useful for those Blueys as a hot shower.

  • Anonymous

    I always used to keep a bottle of ammonia handy; worked great.

  • Anonymous

    I always used to keep a bottle of ammonia handy; worked great.