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How to Treat a Jellyfish Sting

We are lucky enough to live less than two hours away from some of the most beautiful beaches in the country and we take full advantage. During the summer we make frequent day trips to the coast and we try to carve out at least one week a year to vacation there with our extended family.

Some of my most treasured memories from childhood occurred by the ocean and it’s a place I want Anders and Danica to experience as well. As a kid I did not hesitate to dive headfirst into the water — the heat of a mid-summer day in the South demands it — but as an adult I have to admit I find myself creeping suspiciously towards the water’s edge and dipping only a toe in before opting instead to seek refuge in the shade with a cold beverage.  

I am increasingly aware of the creatures that live in the water and there is one in particular that strikes fear into my heart. No, it’s not the sharks that have me worried. It’s the jellyfish. Have you ever been stung by one? It’s excruciating. I speak from experience. I was stung during a quick dip as a teenager in water that barely reached my knees. My sting was small, but effective at turning me into a very vigilant and cautious enjoyer of the ocean.

Knowing how to treat a jellyfish sting is key to ensuring an uncomfortable situation doesn’t become an unbearable one. If you or someone you are with is unlucky enough to have a run-in with one of these creatures here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Get out of the water. This may seem like common sense, but the kind of pain a jellyfish sting renders can be blinding and may strip you of all common sense. Try your best to hobble to shore quickly.
  • Ensure that there aren’t any stinging cells still attached to your skin. To remove them, WebMD suggests using a credit card or any other object you have handy that can be used to scrape across the skin.
  • For some relief on the beach, wash the skin with salt water. This should put a stop to any stinging cells still on the skin.
  • Once you’ve suffered a jellyfish sting, you’ll likely be ready to cut your beach day short. On your way home pick up some vinegar and hydrocortisone cream to apply to the wound. According to the Mayo Clinic, these will help reduce pain, itching and swelling. Do not use alcohol.
  • As with an sting, watch for signs of allergic reaction. Some may need to see a doctor after a run in with a jellyfish.

Have you ever been stung by a jellyfish? What are your tips and trick for treating a sting?

Photo credit: Flickr

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