APR 29, 2017 11:23 AM PDT

What NOT to Do to a Jellyfish Sting

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The ocean is as mysterious as it is dangerous. A sting from the box jellyfish Chironex fleckeri can kill a person in just three minutes. The semi-transparent, amorphous tentacled nature of these creatures make it difficult to spot and avoid them in the water.

Luckily deadly box jellyfish are mostly found in the Indo-Pacific region and northern Australia. But the other 2,000+ types of jellyfish can be found in just about any ocean water. While most stings aren't deadly, they can be quite painful, so it's best to avoid it if you can.

But if you are stung while swimming, here's one important tip to remember: Don't pee on the wound! Contrary to what you saw on Friends, urinating on a jellyfish sting isn't an effective treatment. In fact, the urine can aggravate the singers to release more venom, making it even more excruciating. Rather, the best way to alleviate the stinging pain is to wash, remove the tentacles, and douse the wound with vinegar or other acidic compounds.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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