Jellyfish stings are quite prevalent issue for people swimming, wading or diving in seawaters. Jellyfish body have long tentacles which can inject venom from thousands of microscopic barbed stingers. Stings by jellyfishes can be of varying severity.
Main signs and symptoms of jellyfish stings are as follows:
- Pain of burning and prickling type
- Red, brown or purplish tracks on the skin. This is the impression of tentacles on skin.
- Itching and Swelling
- Throbbing radiating pain that goes up a leg or an arm
Some signs and symptoms presents after some hours of sting as jellyfish sting affects other organ system of the body. These include:
- Stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting
- Muscle ache or spasms
- Weakness and confusion
- Shortness of breath
- Heart problems
Microscopic barbed stingers are present on jellyfish tentacles. Venom is present in tiny bulb of sting and comes out from a coiled, sharp-tipped tube. The jellyfish uses the venom as a defense to kill prey. The tube penetrates the skin and releases venom. It affects the immediate area of contact and may enter the bloodstream.
Possible complications of a jellyfish sting are
- Delayed hypersensitivity reaction presents as blisters, rash or other skin irritations one to two weeks after the sting
- Irukandji syndrome, in which chest and stomach pain, high blood pressure and heart problems occur.
Usually for jellyfish sting there is no need to visit a doctor. However, if severe doctor can diagnose sting by physical examination of the lesion.
Treatment options include some first-aid care like:
- Carefully pluck visible tentacles with a fine tweezers.
- Soaking the skin in hot waterSteps to avoid
- Avoid scrapping out stingers, rinsing with sea water or human urine, applying alcohol or ethanol, rubbing with towel.
- For a medical emergency CPR is given if a person is having severe reaction to the sting.
- Medications like antihistamines and corticosteroids are given to avoid delayed hypersensitivity reaction.