Friday, April 23, 2010
If I get stung by a jellyfish what is the best treatment?
I think we will bust a commonly held myth with the answer to your question.
Several years ago a TV show recommended urine after a jellyfish sting. In reality, urine could make the sting situation worse. 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.
Once stung, angry, red, whiplike lash marks appear on 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. The best treatment is to rinse off the nematocysts with salt water. Urine may be too dilute and not contain enough salts to be effective in getting rid of the stingy darts, in fact, dilute urine may cause the nematocysts to fire causing even more pain.