If you're heading to the beach this summer, one concern will no doubt be on your mind: jellyfish stings. For the sake of prevention, it's important to know what you should (and shouldn't) do in the event of a jellyfish bite.
What is a jellyfish?
To begin with, we need to define what a jellyfish is. Jellyfish belong to the Scyphozoa group (from the classical Greek skyphos, cup, and zoon, animal, because of their shape). There are over 200 species worldwide.
Among the first are the fried egg jellyfish, abundant in the Mediterranean, and the Aequorea jellyfish, a typical Atlantic species that doesn't even produce stings.
What is a jellyfish sting and what are its symptoms?
The severity of a jellyfish sting will depend on the species in question, as well as the amount of venom injected, the age and weight of the person and the area affected. In all cases, there are a number of main symptoms that a person may experience after a jellyfish sting:
- Immediate pain.
- intense itching
- Redness of the skin.
- Inflammation of affected area.
- Hives on the skin.
- Feeling of tightness in the chest (in the most severe cases).
- Difficulty breathing (in the most severe cases).
- Muscle cramps (in severe cases).
How to treat a jellyfish sting
To treat a jellyfish sting, first of all, we need to bear in mind that fresh water is forbidden, as it can break the stinging cells of the venom we already have on our skin, and we're very likely to suffer another sting.
- First of all, what we need to do is wash the area well, either with a saline solution or with seawater itself, the first option being the most advisable.
- Once the stinger has been thoroughly rinsed, we need to look to see if there are any jellyfish tentacles left, which is usually the most likely. With great care, they should be removed with tweezers.
- To treat the jellyfish sting and eliminate the itching sensation, you can apply alcohol 96 or ammonia.
- Once this has been done, cold will be applied to the affected area for at least 15 minutes, but never directly to the burn.
- Certain types of analgesic can also be administered to the affected person to minimize pain, although this depends on professional advice.
What should not be done, however, is :
- Don't scratch or rub your skin with towels or other clothing.
- Do not apply ammonia.
- Do not apply alcohol.
- Avoid compression bandages.
- Don't use unreliable home remedies (like urine, for example).
As a result, the vast majority of jellyfish produce only an annoying lesion that can init
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