You might’ve heard the rumor that you can alleviate some of the suffering associated with a jellyfish sting by urinating on it, but you might want to think twice before doing that.
Jellyfish tentacles are swarming with venomous cells that release nematocysts. As these needle-like structures penetrate the victim, they inject venom and cause all kinds of discomfort.
But not every nematocyst activates upon scraping against a jellyfish tentacle. Some of them remain dormant, at least until disturbed; and that’s where the urine comes into play. Peeing on your jellyfish sting activates the dormant nematocysts, triggering additional pain and suffering.
Instead, it’s best to get out of the water as quickly as possible and pour vinegar on the sting. Unlike urine, vinegar deactivates nematocysts and reduces suffering. You can then remove any tentacle remnants with tweezers and immerse the sting on hot water for about 45 minutes – this helps by deactivating some of the venom contracted by the sting.
While the rash will probably remain on the skin for a while to come, you’ll experience significantly less pain in the long run if you don’t pee on your jellyfish sting.