WITH the news that potentially lethal Man-o-war ‘jellyfish’ are back on the Costa del Sol, it’s important to know what to do and what not to do if you are stung.
If there are severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or chest pain, or if a large or sensitive area of the body, such as the face or genitals, has been stung, then emergency services should be called.
Otherwise, most stings can be self-treated.
Firstly, get the person out of the water, taking care not to get stung yourself.
Then use seawater – not fresh water – to rinse away any stinging cells from the jellyfish that may be clinging to the skin.
Don’t apply ice or a cold pack to the affected area – it may make the pain worse.
Don’t use vinegar either because it can cause any remaining stinging cells from the jellyfish to release more stings.
Ignore any advice you’ve heard about urinating on the sting. It’s unlikely to help.
As soon as possible, immerse the affected area in hot water (as hot as the person can bear) for 30 to 90 minutes to ease the pain and reduce swelling.
If the pain returns, you can continue immersing in hot water for up to two hours after being stung.
Hot flannels or towels can be used if immersion isn’t possible.
Painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, can be taken to help relieve the pain.
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