Treatment

Most jellyfish stings can be treated by rinsing the area with salt water to remove tentacles and prevent further release of venom and then immersing the affected area in hot water.

Someone having a severe reaction to a jellyfish sting needs emergency care that may include:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Life support to stabilize breathing, heart rate and blood pressure
  • Antivenin medication, if the sting is from a box jellyfish
  • Pain medicine

Other medical treatments

Other circumstances also may require doctor-supervised treatment:

  • A rash or other skin reaction due to delayed hypersensitivity may be treated with oral antihistamines or corticosteroids.
  • A jellyfish sting occurring on or near an eye requires immediate medical care for pain control and a good eye flushing. You will likely be seen by a doctor specializing in eye care (ophthalmologist).
Aug. 01, 2017
References
  1. Tintinalli JE, et al. Marine trauma and envenomation. In: Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2016. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  2. Cegolon L, et al. Jellyfish stings and their management: A review. Marine Drugs. 2013;11:523.
  3. Purcell JE. Jellyfish in Chesapeake Bay and nearby waters. NOAA Ocean Service Education. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/lessons/stinging_sea_append.html. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  4. Li L, et al. Interventions for the symptoms and signs resulting from jellyfish stings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009688.pub2/abstract. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  5. Ward NT, et al. Evidence-based treatment of jellyfish stings in North America and Hawaii. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2012;60:399.
  6. Auerbach PS. In reply to evidence-based treatment of jellyfish stings in North America and Hawaii. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2013;61:253.
  7. Marcus EN, et al. Jellyfish stings. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 5, 2017.
  8. Hornbeak KB, et al. Marine envenomation. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 2017;35:321.
  9. Lakkis. Jellyfish stings: A practical approach. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. 2015;26:422.