First aid for jellyfish sting
Summer is here, which means it’s time for fun in the sun and trips to the beach! But with increased time spent in the water comes an increased risk of jellyfish stings.
While most jellyfish stings are harmless, they can be painful and scary for children. Knowing how to treat a jellyfish sting quickly and effectively can make all the difference.
Are jellyfish stings dangerous?
Jellyfish stings can be painful and cause red, swollen skin. Some jellyfish also release a toxin that can be dangerous. The severity of the sting depends on the type of jellyfish, the size of the person stung, and how long the tentacles were in contact with the skin.
Most jellyfish stings are not life-threatening, but some can be very serious. If you or your child is stung by a jellyfish, it is important to seek medical help immediately.
How many kinds of jellyfish are there?
Jellyfish come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but they are all united by their gelatinous bodies.
There are thought to be over 2000 different species of jellyfish, although only a fraction of these have been formally described. Many jellyfish are difficult to tell apart, and new species are still being discovered.
Can a jellyfish sting kill you?
Yes, a jellyfish sting can kill you. Jellyfish stings are incredibly dangerous and can cause severe reactions in people who are allergic to them. If you or your child is stung by a jellyfish, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Some of the most deadly being the Box jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish.
First aid for a jellyfish sting
If your child is stung by a jellyfish, the first thing you should do is remove any tentacles that are still attached to the skin. You can do this with a pair of tweezers or by carefully rubbing the affected area with a credit card. Once the tentacles have been removed, rinse the area with water.
If the jellyfish is from tropical waters, you can apply vinegar to the sting. This will help to neutralise the venom and ease the pain. If you don’t have vinegar, use seawater. Then use a cold pack for pain relief.
First aid for non tropical jellyfish sting
If the jellyfish is from non-tropical waters, immerse the sting in hot water or use hot packs for at least 20 mins.
If there is no hot water, use an ice pack instead or cold water.
You can take pain relief too.
If your child is having trouble breathing, is in intense pain or showing signs of an allergic reaction, such as difficulty breathing, swelling, or hives, call emergency services immediately. Otherwise, monitor your child for any further reactions and give them over-the-counter pain medication if necessary.
Most jellyfish stings will resolve on their own within a few hours but it’s important to seek medical attention if there are any concerns.
Where are the most dangerous jellyfish?
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, three types of jellyfish pose the greatest risk to humans: Sea Wasps, Irukandjis, and Box Jellyfish.
Sea wasps, also known as fire coral, are found in warm waters around the world.
Irukandjis are found in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region.
Box jellyfish are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world. All three types of jellyfish can cause serious health problems, including death if they sting a child.
Jellyfish sting treatment depends on the location
If your child is stung by a jellyfish, it’s important to remove the tentacles as quickly as possible. This can be done by gently scraping them off with a credit card or similar object. Once the tentacles are removed, rinse the area with seawater (not fresh water) to help relieve pain and prevent further irritation.
In tropical areas (QLD): Jellyfish in this area can be deadly. If your child is stung, you can use distilled white vinegar or baking soda dissolved in water. Soaking a clean cloth in one of these solutions and applying it to the affected area can also help relieve pain and swelling.
Then use a cold pack for pain relief. If your child shows signs of distress or symptoms worsen or is still in pain after these treatments, contact your doctor or visit the nearest emergency room for further care.
How do jellyfish sting?
Every tentacle has thousands of microscopic barbed stingers. Each one has a bulb that holds venom and a coiled, sharp-tipped tube. When you brush against a tentacle, tiny triggers on its surface release the stingers.
Does it help to pee on a jellyfish sting?
It is a common myth that urinating on a jellyfish sting will help to ease the pain. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, urinating on a jellyfish sting can make the pain worse. If you are stung by a jellyfish, it is best to rinse the area with seawater or vinegar.
Is it dangerous for a child to get stung by a jellyfish
If your child has been stung by a jellyfish, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Jellyfish stings can be very painful and can cause serious health complications. In some cases, jellyfish stings can be fatal, especially if they are in tropical waters.
How long does a jellyfish sting last?
The pain of a jellyfish sting can last for several hours. The area around the sting may stay red and swollen for a few days. You can put a cold compress on the sting to help with the pain and swelling.
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