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Jellyfish: did you know that using fresh water to rinse yourself could be harmful?

January 1, 2018


Being stung by one or more of these sea creatures with very long tentacles while swimming in the sea is a very painful experience that can even worsen if you use fresh water to wash the part of the body stung by it – explains Professor Antonio Costanzo, Head of the Dermatology Unit at Humanitas hospital and professor at Humanitas University. – In fact, fresh water, both hot and cold, promotes the development and the diffusion of neurotoxins, which are toxic for the central nervous system. They are produced by the contact of the long jellyfish tentacles with the skin. In case you get stung by a jellyfish, it is necessary to intervene effectively and immediately, avoiding the do-it-yourself methods, in order to avoid the toxin diffusion and to mitigate the effects of the contact, such as itching, burning pain, swelling and the appearance of possible blisters on the skin.


Here are the effective actions in case of jellyfish puncture:


  •      Remove any remaining excess from the tentacles
  •      Wash thoroughly with cold sea water
  •      Wash with a mixture of sea water and sodium bicarbonate, or ammonia, diluted in sea water
  •      In case of intense burning and vesicles in clusters, contact a dermatologist before using cortisone ointments, anti-histamines and pain-killers.
  •      In case of itching, even if very intense, avoid scratching the skin, because this stimulates muscular action, which favors the diffusion of the poison.
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