Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment cyst removal specialist Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Outlook Underlying Cause

Sting from Man-O-War Home Care

First aid for jellyfish stings includes:

  • Rinse the affected area with salt water.
    • Do not use fresh water.
  • Carefully remove any tentacles.
    • Use tweezers or a gloved hand.
    • Use adhesive tape.
  • Rinse again.
  • Do not scrub or scrape the tentacles.
    • This releases more venom into the skin.
  • Rinse the skin with household vinegar.
    • This inactivates the venom.
    • If vinegar is not available, use isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and a bandage.

Additional home care for jellyfish stings include:

Sting from Man-O-War Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with jellyfish stings include:

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.





NSAID Precautions

Sting from Man-O-War Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with jellyfish stings include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Sting from Man-O-War Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have jellyfish stings and any of the following:

Continue to Sting from Man-O-War Outlook

Last Updated: Mar 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Sting from Man-O-War 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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