Jellyfish or jellies are soft bodied, free-swimming aquatic animals with a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. It’s the tentacles that sting. Jellyfish sting their prey with them, releasing a venom that paralyzes their targets. Jellyfish don’t go after humans, but someone who swims up against or touches one — or even steps on a dead one — can be stung all the same.

While jellyfish stings are painful, most are not emergencies. Expect pain, red marks, itching, numbness, or tingling with a typical sting.

How to Treat a Jellyfish Sting

1. Ensure you don’t get stung yourself when aiding others

2. Remove any attached tentacles with a gloved hand, stick, or towel (none of these available use your fingertips)

3. Do not rub the affected area (this may result in further venom release)

4. Rinse the affected area copiously with sea-water  (do not use fresh water, vinegar, alcohol or urine)

5. Apply a ‘dry cold pack’ to the area (i.e. place a cold pack or ice inside a plastic bag and then wrap this package in a t-shirt or other piece of cloth)

6. Use HOT WATER for Portuguese Man o’ War stings at approximately 45° Celsius for 20 minutes

7. Seek medical attention if there is anything other than minor discomfort. If the patient is suffering from swelling, breathing difficulties, palpitation or chest tightness then transfer to the nearest emergency department urgently