Jellyfish is renowned for its dangerous and painful sting on foot. Most often swimmers and divers in seawater fall accidental victim to this non aggressive, gelatinous marine creature. The stings are caused by its long tentacles. This tentacles release tiny stringers filled with venom into the skin of the victim.
There are thousands of varieties of jellyfish; the severity of jellyfish varies according to its variety. They are found throughout the world, but most dangerous and sometimes life threatening variety are found in Australian and Indo-Pacific sea waters.
The sting of jellyfish causes intense local pain, itching and redness.Few stings are known to cause systemic reactions which may sometimes be life threatening. Most jellyfish stings heal with home remedies and natural treatment, but if there is severe jellyfish reaction, an emergency medical treatment may prove lifesaving.
Jellyfish Sting On Foot Symptoms
Leaving aside few dangerous species of jellyfish, the rest of jellyfish sting symptoms alleviate within one or two weeks even without treatment. However, the discoloration that it causes at the local site may last for more than a month.
As there are many varieties of jellyfish, the symptom severity may vary from one species to another.It also depends on the size of jellyfish, how old the person is, how long the exposure was, and most important the area of the skin affected.
Common symptoms of jellyfish sting include intense burning pain, redness and itching at the site of sting. The intense throbbing pain may radiate far off from the site of its sting. If the sting is in the foot or lower leg, the pain may radiate throughout the leg.
Systemic symptoms of jellyfish sting include; gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in abdomen, tingling and numbness, painful muscle spasms.
Severe systemic symptoms include; breathlessness, loss of consciousness, heartbeat irregularity, and sudden cardiac arrest.
The sting of one of the most dangerous jellyfish called Box jellyfish can cause instantaneous death.
Natural Treatment For Jellyfish Stings
The two important points that are to be remembered while treating jellyfish stings are easing the pain and deactivating the stringers. Most of the jellyfish stings can be taken care of with home remedies. However, if the symptoms are severe and systemic, immediate medical treatment is required. This may include administration of antivenin, immediate cardiac resuscitation, airway support and pain relieving medication.
Most cases of jellyfish stings can be treated with simple home remedies and natural treatment:
- It is important to remember to wash the stung area with seawater instead of fresh water. Seawater will help to reduce the pain as well as help in deactivating the stringers. Fresh water will have opposite effect. Similarly do not apply ice or hot water to the affected area. Let the affected area remain unmoved.
- Vinegar: soak the affected area with vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes. Vinegar restricts the release of venom from the stringers and deactivates them, if vinegar is not available, you can also use lemon juice.
- Remove the stuck tentacles on the skin surface with tweezers. Avoid touching the tentacles with your hands. If tweezers is not available try to scrape the area with credit card, or with a blunt knife with shaving cream on it etc. Do not rub the area with a cloth as it may do more harm than good.
- Sprinkle some baking powder on the affected area and dust it off. It is an effective way to get rid of tentacles and neutralizing the toxic effect of jellyfish venom. You can also apply paste prepared by mixing baking powder and seawater on the affected area to prevent any further damage.
- Cover the stung area with beach sand for half hour. This is an immediate and effective remedy for reducing pain and itching caused due to jellyfish sting.
- Always prevent jellyfish sting by wearing protective swimsuits while swimming in a jellyfish prone area. Avoid swimming in that area is the best idea.
- Do not pick a dead jelly fish as it can still release toxins from its tentacles.