Diagnosing jellyfish stings generally doesn't require a visit to a health care provider. If you do go, your provider will likely be able to diagnose your injury by looking at it.
Your health care provider may collect samples of the stingers to help guide treatment.
Treatment for jellyfish stings includes first-aid care and medical treatment.
Most jellyfish stings can be treated as follows:
- Carefully pluck visible tentacles with a fine tweezers.
- Soak the skin in hot water. Use water that's 110 to 113 F (43 to 45 C). It should feel hot, not scalding. Keep the affected skin immersed or in a hot shower until the pain eases, which might be 20 to 45 minutes.
- Apply 0.5% to 1% hydrocortisone cream or ointment twice a day to the affected skin.
Steps to avoid
These actions are unhelpful or unproved:
- Scraping out stingers
- Rinsing with human urine
- Rinsing with cold, fresh water
- Applying meat tenderizer
- Applying alcohol, ethanol or ammonia
- Rubbing with a towel
- Applying pressure bandages
- Emergency care. Someone having a severe reaction to a jellyfish sting may need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), life support or, if the sting is from a box jellyfish, antivenom medication.
- Oral medicine. A delayed rash or other skin reaction may be treated with oral antihistamines or corticosteroids. You may also be given oral pain medicine.
- Eye flushing. A jellyfish sting on or near the eye generally requires immediate medical care to control pain and flush the eye.