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HomeLEARN SKILLSHow to treat a jellyfish sting

How to treat a jellyfish sting

Allergic reaction

The first thing is to notice if the person who has been stung is displaying anaphylactic symptoms such as wheezing or struggling to breathe. If they have then you need to call an ambulance immediately.


If you are treating someone who has been stung the first thing to do is rinse the sting with salt water which will soothe it.

Remove spines

A sting can leave small spines in the skin. Do not rub these as that will embed them further. These will dissolve over time, but if you can, try to remove them with tweezers.

Hot water

After you’ve tried to remove the spines it is ideal for the sting to be soaked in really hot water, basically as hot as possible without scalding yourself. If you can’t submerge it in hot water then you can use a hot compress or hot towels. Do that for about 30 minutes then take any pain relief that you might need like paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Do not…

Don’t pee on the sting, that’s actually a myth. There’s no proof that peeing on the sting works. It’s like an old wives’ tale. People tend to pee on it because they think the sting is an alkaline and they assume that by weeing on it it’s going to put an acidic fluid on it to try and neutralise it. However, everybody’s urine at any time of the day could be a different pH; it’s not always going to be acidic as it depends what you eat and drink.

Medical Expert

Name: Rose Boswell

Job: Adult Nurse

Unit: Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps

Rank: Corporal

BIOG: Rose was an NHS nurse before she joined the Army. Her highlight to date has been working at DMRC Headly Court, looking after injured personnel.