Phuket Thailand's best scuba diving (+66) 0806 961 461
What is the best way to treat a jellyfish sting?

What is the best way to treat a jellyfish sting?

What is the best way to treat a jellyfish sting?

Jelly fish sting are unfortunately part and parcel of diving and can ruin a days scuba diving. Luckily in most cases, self treatment is all that is needed and the effects will go away within 24-48 hours. In nearly all circumstances jellyfish stings are not life threatening and this is more so in Thailand.

Not all jellyfish are dangerous. Most people think that all gelatinous,swimming marine animal encountered at the sea are “jellyfish” and moreover that they all sting. But not all jellyfish are stinging; many are harmless to humans, but it is always best to avoid touching them.

However in Australian the Box Jellyfish (Cubozoans) and while not technically a jellyfish the Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia spp.) are quite nasty. The Portuguese Man-of-War, is found Brazil, Mexico and the USA and sometimes around Australia, New Zealand and in parts of the Indian Ocean. Because of their propensity to cause systemic symptoms, Cubozoans and Physalia species are considered among the most dangerous cnidarians and will require hospital treatment.

What Happens When I am Stung

Writing for Scientific American Ciara Curtin explains the process of what occurs when we are stung by a jellyfish.

Jellyfish, those bulbous Medusa-like creatures, float near many of the world’s beaches. Some of the jellyfish’s skin cells are stinging cells, or cnidocytes. These specialized cells have organelles called nematocysts that contain venom. Cnidocytes are spread along the entire length of the jellyfish’s tentacles.

These tentacles can be so long that swimmers might not see the jellyfish that stings them, but they will certainly feel it. “The pain is instant,” says Joseph Burnett, a dermatologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, who is part of the school’s Consortium of Jellyfish Stings, which tracks jellyfish injuries worldwide. Once stung, angry, red, whiplike lash marks mar the skin. The pain radiates from the sting site and starts to itch, burn and throb as it blisters. Scratching it, though, can make the pain worse, because rubbing activates the nematocysts, which release more venom.

Prevention

The use of lightweight dive skins or wetsuits provides adequate mechanical protection against jellyfish stings. If diving in waters known to have stinging jelly fish then covering up is the best solution.

Jellyfish Aussie Divers Phuket

Jellyfish Aussie Divers Phuket

Does Urinating on jellyfish Stings really work?

For a long time there has been rumors that urinating on jellyfish sting can assist with the pain. Actually my old Italian grandmother believed that urine cured a lot including facial acne (I refused participate in trying that treatment).

Those a little skeptical will be relieved. Treating a jellyfish sting by urinating on it may actually cause someone even more pain, rather than relief. Urine can actually aggravate the jellyfish’s stingers into releasing more venom.

So what does work?

Here are DAN’s (Divers Alert Network) recommendations. The full list of recommendations are contained in this blog by DAN

Inactivation

Irrigate the area with generous amounts of household vinegar (4 to 6 percent acetic acid solution). This does not reverse the effects of venom or control pain, but may help to prevent further discharge of unfired nematocysts. If vinegar is not available then recommend washing the area with saltwater.

DO NOT USE FRESH WATER

Rinsing with freshwater will have the opposite effect. If freshwater is used the nematocysts in the cells release more venom and cause more pain.

Removal

Visible tentacles or filaments should be carefully removed with the aid of fine tweezers or protective barriers. Gloves, dive skins, women’s stockings or other thin material can provide enough protection to prevent envenomation of rescuers during tentacle removal.

Once rinsing deactivates all the nasty nematocysts, the attached bits of tentacle can be removed by coating them with shaving cream or seawater and sand followed by shaving with a razor or even a credit card.

Symptomatic treatment

Treatment usually consists of painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications and topical anesthetics.

Jelly Fish Scuba Dive Aussie Divers Phuket Nina

Jelly Fish Scuba Dive Aussie Divers Phuket Nina

Temperature

May help reduce pain. Immerse the affected area in hot water (113 °F / 45 °C) for 30 to 90 minutes (repeat as necessary). Local application of cold (if a hot water or hot pack are not available) can also provide pain reduction. Reports indicate that the application of heat may provide more effective pain relief than the use of cold, but cold packs should not be refused or avoided on this basis.

Test the water yourself prior to exposing it to the injured person. Envenomations may alter pain tolerance and in some cases may enable exposure to water hot enough to scald.

Steroids and Antihistamines

Use of topical steroids and antihistamines may be useful to reduce local swelling and possible allergic reactions.

Seek immediate professional medical attention in the case of severe systemic symptoms.

Should blistering occur, refrain from releasing the fluid or breaking the skin and simply allow them to heal naturally. Blisters may rupture, but this is not a cause for alarm, but does indicate a breech in the protective barrier of the skin and warrants keeping the area clean, dry and protected. Monitor for signs of infection until healed.

By Darren Gaspari

Proud owner and active PADI Gold Course Director of Aussie Divers Phuket, a professional and awarded PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Scuba Diving Centre. Member of the PADI Advisory Board for the eLearning modules 2019 and 2020.

Hi, was This Page Helpful?
(2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

Posted in Helpful Diving Info on .

A Diving Community In Phuket

Here at Aussie Divers we don't just consider ourselves a dive shop, we think of it as more, a big family of like minded individuals coming together to enjoy the marine environment here in Phuket & Thailand. We are always happy to chat with new divers or old, so please drop by the office anytime to see what is going on and if you have dived with us or want to dive with us than feel free to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our community Dive Blog and generally stay in touch & stay informed.

PADI Open Water Touch Scuba Diving Course Aussie Divers Phuket Courses

Free PADI Open Water Course Introduction

Thinking about learning to scuba dive? Don't know where to begin? Take the first step today with this limited time FREE offer from Aussie Divers! Start your PADI Open Water Course for free: Sign up here PADI & Aussie Divers are offering a 100% free online introduction to the PADI Open Water Course. You can now have an insight to the dive theory before committing or paying any money, start your PADI scuba education online today! This online PADI eLearning module covers the steps involved to become a certified diver, how to get the most out of your course & some basic aspects of the full PADI Open Water Course. You can s [...]

Read The Story
Free Pool Try Scuba Diver Aussie Divers Phuket Helpful Diving Info

Do I Need to Know How To Swim to Scuba Dive?

This is a question that I often get asked, and really it is not as simple as YES or NO. If you want to become a certified scuba diver by doing the PADI Open Water Diver Course, the answer is yes. In the PADI Open Water Diver Course it is specified that you have to be able to swim 200 metres. This can be with any stroke. You also have to be able to tread water or float for at least 10 minutes. The reason for this is not for the fact that scuba diving requires you to swim. But rather it is for your and your groups safety. In the unlikely event that your BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) was to falter then there would be no device to kee [...]

Read The Story
Scuba Masks Sale Aussie Divers Helpful Diving Info

How to Buy a Scuba Diving Mask?

Here is Aussie Divers Phuket tips on how to buy a new scuba diving mask. Buying a dive mask should be the first investment you make as a scuba diver. As having your own mask with a proper fit will go along way to making your dives more enjoyable. When looking at buying a dive mask there are a number of different shapes, styles & sizes available, how do you choose the right one for you. The choices may seem endless, however, there are some basic things to search for, here is our guide to buying a dive mask. The key to finding a good mask is getting the right fit, after all, there is nothing worse than having to clear a l [...]

Read The Story
Danish Instructor Phuket Thailand Aussie Divers Everything Else

Scuba Instructor Martin Ruhoff – Dansk – Svenska – Norsk – English

Hailing from Denmark in the cold north of Europe, Scuba Instructor Martin Ruhoff began his love of scuba diving more than a decade ago in Ao Nang Thailand. As with most of us he caught the scuba diving bug and has never looked back. He has now been scuba diving instructor in Phuket Thailand for almost ten years. He has been a loved member of the Aussie Divers Phuket team for more than seven years now. Martin's easy going and relaxed Scandinavian persona makes him an excellent and well respected instructor and we are proud to have him on our books at Aussie Divers Phuket. He is also an avid underwater photographer and talking about [...]

Read The Story