Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Jellyfish Stings Overview

What are jellyfish stings?
A person with a jellyfish sting has inflammation of the skin, caused by the venom from a jellyfish. Jellyfish have cysts on their tentacles or body. The cysts contain venom. Contact with the jellyfish causes the cysts to inject venom into the victim. The venom causes inflammation of the skin and inflammation of the tissue beneath the skin. Although jellyfish stings can be very painful, symptoms usually resolve over 7-10 days. Death from a jellyfish sting is extremely rare.

What are the symptoms of jellyfish stings?
Symptoms of jellyfish stings include skin redness, skin blisters, skin swelling (hives), and pain around the sting. Symptoms of a severe jellyfish sting may include diarrhea, wheezing, chest pain, breathing difficulty, muscle spasms, weakness, faintness, fainting, excessive salivation, and vomiting.

How does the doctor treat jellyfish stings?
Treatment of jellyfish stings may include skin rinsing, application of vinegar, and removal of jellyfish tentacles. Other measures include acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever control.

Continue to Jellyfish Stings Incidence

Last Updated: May 22, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Jellyfish Stings References
  1. Nimorakiotakis B, Winkel KD. Marine envenomations. Part 1--Jellyfish. Aust Fam Physician. 2003 Dec;32(12):969-74. [14708142]
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