Editor’s Note: Essential Outdoor Stuff is presented by Toyota RAV4 Adventure Grade.
Jellyfish stings hurt!And you know what? In very rare cases, they can kill you. But unless it’s a Box jellyfish or Portuguese Man-of-War, you’re most likely dealing with venomous nematocysts pulsing darts of pain that can efficiently be subdued. That said, if it is a Box jelly or Man-of-War or the victim is displaying severe allergic reactions and/or the sting covers more than half of your arm or leg, seek medical help immediately. In all other cases, we’ve got your back.
1. Tempting as it might be, do not pee on your friend. Despite what you may have read, urea, though effective at unsticking the stingers, does nothing for the venom. Beyond that, urine doesn’t have a consistent chemical composition; it varies depending on diet and hydration levels, so while it may be fun for masochists as an ad-hoc solution to torment a friend in need, it’s not a reliable solution.
2. Don’t wash the wound with seawater or scrape the affected area with a credit card or scratch it. Doing any of these things actually makes the sting worse by spreading the sting to a larger area or causing the stingers to release more venom, as the nematocysts are often triggered by additional pressure. So resist the urge to scrape. It’s not a good one.
3. Pour some vinegar on it! Just like the ‘ol Def Leppard hit! Extra strength vinegar deactivates the jellyfish’s nematocysts, which quickly reduces the pain as well as the opportunity for any more damage to take place.
4. Use tweezers to remove any remaining stingers. Until the stingers disappear, there’s a continued risk for more venom to be discharged.
5. Apply heat.
Now that you’re all patched up, get back out there and enjoy that Mother Earth!
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