Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

The best treatment for you may depend on the type of jellyfish that stung you. But in general most stings can be treated with these simple remedies:

  • Remove stingers. Remove any pieces of jellyfish tentacle in your skin by rinsing the wound with seawater. Then try gently scraping off any remaining stingers with the edge of an ID card or a credit card. You can also use sticky tape to remove stingers. And don't rinse with fresh water or rub the area with a towel, as these actions may activate more stingers.
  • Take steps to relieve pain. The best method depends on what type of jellyfish stung you. Options include taking a hot shower or rinsing with vinegar or saltwater. Applying calamine lotion or lidocaine might help relieve itching and pain.

Remedies to avoid

These remedies are unhelpful or unproved:

  • Rinsing with human urine
  • Rinsing with fresh water
  • Applying meat tenderizer
  • Applying alcohol, ethanol or ammonia
  • Pressure bandages

Prevention

The following tips can help you avoid jellyfish stings:

  • Wear a protective suit. When swimming or diving in areas where jellyfish stings are possible, wear a wet suit or other protective clothing. Diving stores sell protective "skin suits" or "stinger suits" made of thin, high-tech fabric. Consider protective footwear as stings can also occur while wading in shallow water.
  • Get information about conditions. Talk to lifeguards, local residents or officials with a local health department before swimming or diving in coastal waters, especially in areas where jellyfish are common.
  • Avoid water during jellyfish season. Stay out of the water when jellyfish numbers are high.
  • Use protective lotions. Some clinical evidence shows that lotions such as Safe Sea may result in fewer stings after exposure to jellyfish tentacles. It may be especially helpful to people at high risk of stings, such as children or people in poor health.