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What To Do if Stung by a Jellyfish

Moon Jellyfish sometimes blow into Sarasota waters.
Moon Jellyfish sometimes blow into Sarasota waters.

There has been a rise in jellyfish stings along the Sarasota coast over the past few weeks.  So if it happens to you, do you know what to do?  We give you the nuts and bolts about what to do if you have been stung by a jellyfish.  Want to know how to treat a jellyfish sting?  We have the answers for you so read on.

About the Jellyfish Sting

You can get stung if you happen to brush up against a jellyfish while swimming or even step on a one that’s lying on the beach. When a jellyfish stings, it releases “slime” that has thousands of tiny stingers.  The stingers can continue to release venom on the body.

What does a Jellyfish Sting feel like?

Well, not good. Its a burning, itching feeling. It can be numb or tingling.  It is best not to touch the sting.

What does a Jellyfish sting look like?

Generally, it will be a raised area of welts and redness. It can have raised, white dots.

What do you do when you are stung by a jellyfish?

First, get out of the water.  Then, rinse off the red or slimy area with sea water or vinegar.  You need to try to rinse off the tiny stingers. Do not use fresh water!  Fresh water can further irritate the burn.  So, stick with sea water or vinegar. It is an urban legend that you need to pee on a jellyfish sting!
Next, try to scrape off the stingers and slime.  It is a good idea to cover the infected area with shaving cream and then use something like a credit card to scrape it off.
Of course, call 911 or visit a walk-in clinic if you are having trouble breathing or swelling, or if you get stung in the eye, mouth or the vast majority of your body.

Are There Typically Jellyfish in the Tampa Bay Area?

Good news! There have been less jellyfish in the Tampa Bay over the past few years.  Why?  Because we have a healthier Tampa Bay.  There are fewer pieces of bacteria for the jellyfish to eat, so they have have been seen in fewer numbers.
Stay safe and pay attention to the lifeguard’s flag!  If there’s a purple flag that means there are dangerous marine life in the area, so it’s a good idea to skip swimming that day.  We suggest going to Mote Marine to view jellyfish in a tank!