Jellyfish Sting Symptoms
 Jellyfish Stings Overview
Jellyfish are free-swimming, non-aggressive, gelatinous marine animals surrounded by tentacles. These tentacles are covered with sacs (nematocysts) that are filled with poison (venom) that can cause a painful to sometimes life-threatening sting. The marine animals included in the "family" are jellyfish, box jellyfish (sea wasps), Portuguese man-of-war, hydroids, anemones, and fire coral. Jellyfish are found throughout the world. But, the most deadly are found in the Indo-Pacific and Australian waters.
Jellyfish are usually found near the surface of the water during times of diminished light, floating in the water column, or after washing up on the beach. Jellyfish stings are generally accidental - from swimming or wading into a jellyfish or carelessly handling them.
Some types of jellyfish have reproductive jelly gatherings 8 to 10 days after a full moon, thus there is an increase in the number of jellyfish found at that time.
When to Seek Medical Care
Seek immediate medical treatment if the person stung has:
• Difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, or intense pain at the site of the sting.
- If the person has been stung in the mouth or placed tentacles in their mouth and are having voice changes, difficulty swallowing, or swelling of the tongue or lips.
- If the sting happened to someone who is very young or old.
- If the sting involves a large area of the body, the face, or genitals.
- If the patient continues to have itching, redness, pain, swelling of the skin (cellulitis) around the sting, see a doctor. The doctor may prescribe:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to help with the itching,
- pain medication for pain, and/or
- Topical steroids or steroids by mouth to help with the swelling and itching.
- The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if the patient has cellulitis. Take all medications as directed and until they are gone.
 Jellyfish Sting Symptoms
- Symptoms include an intense, stinging pain, itching, rash, and raised welts.
- The progressive effects of a jellyfish sting may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lymph node swelling, abdominal pain, numbness/tingling, and muscle spasms.
- Severe reactions can cause difficulty breathing, coma, and death.
- A sting from a box jellyfish or other venomous types of jellyfish can cause death in minutes.
 Jellyfish Sting Symptoms
A jellyfish is a type of marine animal that has long tentacles and a transparent body. The tentacles of the jellyfish contain stinging cells, which can harm anything that comes in contact with them. It is relatively common to be stung by a jellyfish because these transparent animals can be difficult to see while swimming or diving in the ocean. If you are stung by a jellyfish, you may develop a number of symptoms.
Immediately upon being stung by a jellyfish, you are likely to experience a burning pain at the site of the injury. This pain may be mild to severe and may radiate up the legs or arms, depending upon where the jellyfish sting occurred.
The jellyfish tentacles may wrap around your arm or leg and cause your skin to appear bright red or inflamed for several hours or days after injury. These painful marks typically develop within several minutes after receiving a jellyfish sting. It is important to wash off the stinging cells as soon as possible with sea water to prevent further irritation.
The stinging cells left behind after a jellyfish sting may cause your skin to become itchy or irritated. If this occurs, you may consider rinsing the affected area with vinegar. This will neutralize the stinging cells and prevent any additional irritation. Any remaining stingers should also be removed to allow the affected area to heal. To remove stinging cells, apply a paste of seawater and talcum powder, or seawater and baking soda, to the site of the injury. Once this paste dries, scrape it off the skin to remove the stinging cells.
After being stung by a jellyfish, you may experience numbness or weakness around the site of injury. Such symptoms will typically resolve within a few hours or days following a jellyfish sting.
A jellyfish sting may cause blisters to form on your skin at the affected site. A blister is a swollen patch of skin that is filled with fluid. Additional symptoms associated with blister formation may include skin irritation or burning. If you develop blisters as a result of a jellyfish sting, do not pick at the blisters or drain them of fluid, as doing so may lead to further infection of the skin.
Your reaction to a jellyfish sting may vary based upon the response of your immune system and the type of jellyfish by which you are stung. According to Medline Plus, more severe reactions, such as abdominal or chest pain, breathing difficulties, or nausea and vomiting, may be associated with stings from two different types of jellyfish---Portuguese man-of-war and sea wasps. If you develop an allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting, you may lose consciousness, collapse or stop breathing. In such instances, immediate medical care is required to prevent life-threatening complications.
 Jellyfish Sting Treatment
- Rinse with seawater. Avoid fresh water because it will increase pain. Do not rub the wound or apply ice to it.
- For classic box jellyfish stings, apply topical acetic acid (vinegar) or isopropyl alcohol.
- Remove tentacles with tweezers.
- Apply shaving cream or a paste of baking soda or mud to the wound. Shave the area with a razor or knife and then reapply vinegar or alcohol. The shaving cream or paste prevents nematocysts that have not been activated from discharging toxin during removal with the razor.
- Immobilize the extremity because movement may cause the venom to spread.
- Hydrocortisone cream may be applied 2-3 times daily to relieve itching. Discontinue immediately if any signs of infection appear.
- Eye stings should be irrigated with 1 gallon of fresh water.
- Mouth stings should be treated with 1/4 strength vinegar. Avoid vinegar if oral swelling or difficulty swallowing occurs.
- For a box jellyfish sting, after treatment with vinegar or alcohol, use the pressure-immobilization technique.
- The extremity should be wrapped with a bandage in a style similar to wrapping a sprained ankle.
- Bind the limb firmly but do not stop the circulation. The fingers and toes should remain pink.
- Leave bandages intact until medical personnel are available for treatment.
- CPR may be necessary.