Wednesday, February 8, 2012

HTW: Relieving a jellyfish sting


Being an Australian, I love the water. I love the hot sand followed by the soothing cool of finally reaching  the water line and dunking my toes into the soft swell; the flat water and occasionally the inconsistent waves. I love looking at the shells and the froth directly after the wave crashes.

What I do not love about the beach however, are jellyfish stings. I live about a five minutes walk from the beach and just yesterday I came across a tell-tale sign that it was jellyfish season - sand littered with these little buggers. So what do you do when one has attacked you?

Firstly, don't urinate on the affected area! Contrary to popular belief it will only aggravate the sting further.

1. As soon as you are stung, you want to get yourself out of the water. Remove the tentacle with care using a stick or whatever you can find that is not your hand. You don't want the stinger to touch your anywhere else as it will continue to sting you in other areas. 

2. Rinse the affected area with vinegar. Soak a hand towel or whatever you have at hand in the vinegar and apply to affected area for 15 - 30 minutes. This is necessary to stop nematocysts from releasing toxins into your body.

3. This next step may hurt a little, but it will hurt more if you skip it. You want to get your hands on some shaving gel and a razor and shave the affected area. This will take the top layer of skin off and any stinger that remains with it, and will entirely prevent the nematocysts from entering your body. Failing this, you could rub the affected area with wet sand.

4. Reapply the vinegar soaked towel once more. You may want to get rid of further pain by using pain relief such as paracetamol or by applying hydrocortisone cream.

NOTE: If you are experiencing breathing difficulties, have been stung repeatedly or would consider your sting/s to be moderate to severe, please skip this advice and get yourself to the nearest lifeguard or hospital.

{Image: taken from the beach down my street}


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