Bitten by a jellyfish, how to handle it properly?

Jellyfish bites are a very common occurrence among swimmers or snorkelers. This accident increases in the summer when many people love swimming at the beach these days. The degree of stinging jellyfish varies, it can be as mild as itching or redness of the skin or a more severe bodily reaction. For wounds with mild symptoms, we can give first aid at home. However, for severe cases, you should quickly see a doctor for timely treatment. In this article, Doctor Vo Thi Ngoc sage will guide us on how to properly handle a jellyfish bite.

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1. When does a jellyfish bite become dangerous?

Usually, when bitten by a jellyfish, only mild symptoms are not dangerous, such as:

  • Red, brown or purple lines appear on the skin.
  • Burning, painful, stinging sensation.
  • Itchy feeling.
  • Swollen skin.
  • The pain is pulsating and radiates down the arm or leg.

However, in special subjects such as children, the elderly or people with reduced resistance, more serious reactions such as:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Whole body rash.
  • Vomiting.
  • Faint.

For wounds with mild symptoms, we can give first aid at home. However, for severe cases, you should quickly see a doctor for timely treatment.1

Bitten by a jellyfish, how to handle it properly?

Jellyfish bite

2. How to give first aid to a jellyfish bite?

When you are bitten by a jellyfish, you can take the following first aid steps:

  • Quickly get out of the swimming waters and onto the shore.
  • Wash the area of ​​the jellyfish bite with vinegar.
  • If you find that the jellyfish's tentacles are still attached to the skin, you can remove them with tweezers or with a gloved hand.
  • Soak the bitten area in warm water (40-45 oC) for 20-40 minutes.
  • You can apply a corticosteroid cream or take an antihistamine if you feel itchiness and swelling a lot.
  • Continue to monitor the bite in the following days, if the bite does not improve, you should quickly see a doctor.

3. What are the absolute things not to do when bitten by a jellyfish?

In addition to the first aid steps above, you absolutely should not do the following things to avoid making the bite worse:

  • Wash the bite with baking soda.
  • Wash the bite site with human urine.
  • Wash the bite with alcohol.
  • Wash the bite with gravy.
  • Wash the bite with fresh water.
  • Tighten the bite wound.
  • Rub the bite with a cotton towel.

4. Which cases need emergency?

In the following cases, the best way is to quickly go to the nearest health department for timely treatment:

  • Children or the elderly are bitten by jellyfish because there is a risk of severe progression.
  • Bites on the face.
  • Being bitten by a jellyfish over a large area of ​​the body.
  • Severe symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain or muscle pain after being bitten.2

5. Prevention of jellyfish bites

Here are a few ways to help limit your chances of getting bitten by a jellyfish while swimming:

  • Avoid swimming during jellyfish breeding season . This is the time when the jellyfish multiply in great numbers. The high density of jellyfish in the water increases the chances of us encountering them while swimming. Therefore, swimming in low season jellyfish will help reduce the risk of jellyfish bites.
  • Wear protective gear . Jellyfish do not actively bite humans while swimming in the sea. Usually it's because we accidentally touch a jellyfish while swimming and stick to its venomous twisted needles. So when swimming or diving, we should wear protective gear so that if we accidentally touch the jellyfish, we will not get poison on the skin.
  • Do not touch the jellyfish . A few jellyfish can wash up on the shore. Because they have beautiful shapes and colors, they are easy to cause curiosity for people around. We need to remember that jellyfish's ability to inject venom remains even after they're dead. So do not touch or step on these jellyfish carcasses to avoid getting poison on the skin.
  • Do not swim in jellyfish areas . When swimming in a strange water, you should ask a guide or a local. If the water has a lot of jellyfish, avoid swimming in to avoid being bitten by the jellyfish.

Bitten by a jellyfish, how to handle it properly?

Preventing jellyfish bites when swimming

6. Conclusion

Jellyfish bites are a very common occurrence among swimmers or snorkelers. This accident increases in the summer when many people love swimming at the beach. The body's response to a jellyfish bite varies from mild to severe. When bitten by a jellyfish, for light bites, we can give first aid and care at home.

In addition, with severe symptoms after being bitten by a jellyfish , people should quickly go to the nearest medical facility for timely treatment. Especially in subjects who are children or the elderly to limit serious complications.


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