Taking The Sting Out Of Jellyfish
August 12, 2011 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
DALLAS, Aug. 12 (UPI) — The ocean in the summer is fun but jellyfish can sting as vacationers wade into the waves or walk along the shore, U.S. emergency medicine physicians caution.
Dr. Kurt Kleinschmidt, chief of medical toxicology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, says the invertebrates use a net of tentacles packed with poisonous stinging cells to capture prey for food.
When the tentacles brush against animals or humans, thousands of tiny stinging cells explode, launching barbed stingers and poisons into the victim, Kleinschmidt says.
“A vinegar wash is an effective first treatment to help cool the sting’s burn. Other remedies include sprinkling meat tenderizer or applying a paste of baking soda and water on the sting before seeking medical attention,” Kleinschmidt says in a statement. “Don’t rinse with tap or bottled water because that could release more poison.”
In some cases, a jellyfish sting can produce a more severe reaction such as difficulty breathing. If this happens head to the nearest emergency room or call 911, Kleinschmidt says.