Seven first aid tips for sea urchin and jellyfish stings

Nathaniel kept himself busy scrutinizing something in the sand after having done swimming under the scorching heat of the sun, in a sea filled with jellyfish.

The last time we were at the beach my wife, including my nephew and niece, complained about being bitten by something while they were keeping themselves busy swimming in the sea. It was with luck that my three-year-old son who was also swimming in the sea with them during that time was spared from a jellyfish sting.

Looking upon the portion of my wife’s hand she said was stung by a sea creature she still has to find out what, I had in mind it was from a jellyfish thing. She said it felt like her hand was electrocuted by a tiny thing.

Having studied about jellyfish in the past, I instructed them to prepare for the first aid treatment I’m going to demonstrate myself. Jellyfish, by the way, is naturally a free-swimming, gelatinous, and non-aggressive marine animal surrounded by tentacles. There are more than two hundred types of jellyfish.

The tentacles in a jellyfish are covered with sacs called “nematocytes” and these are filled with poison that could cause a painful or even, in some cases, life-threatening sting. Jellyfish could be found anywhere in the world but the most venomous type are spread throughout the Indo-Pacific and Australian waters. So here are the seven first aid tips for sea urchin and jellyfish stings:

  • Douse the affected area with vinegar or, if no vinegar available, baking soda. You could also rinse the tentacles off with sea water. Avoid using fresh water, any form of alcohol, and methylated spirits in an attempt to deactivate tentacles as these would only cause a rapid massive discharge of jellyfish nematocytes.
  • Try using tweezers in removing any sea urchin spines or jellyfish tentacles. You could also try applying a shaving cream and gently scrape the affected area with a razor to remove jellyfish stings. Applying melted wax to the injury is also a best alternative. Just allow the wax to set then peel it off so that the tiny spines could be removed.
  • Once the tentacles are removed, you have to immerse the affected area for thirty to ninety minutes in water as hot as the victim could tolerate. You could repeat this procedure if necessary.
  • Try scrubbing the wound with soap and water. Flush extensively with fresh water afterwards.
  • Never ever use tapes or bandages to close the wound.
  • If ever signs of infection, like a pus, redness or heat occur, it is best to use topical antibiotic ointment and apply it to the wound.
  • Oral antibiotics could be recommended by a physician for infection.

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