When you are stung by a jellyfish, it can be extremely painful and sometimes dangerous; they rarely kill, but the barbs that are released and hook into your skin contain venom and leave a rash and can sometimes cause illness.
If you are injured on holiday as the result of an accident then you can claim travel accident compensation and Accident Advice Helpline can assist you.
Help the victim leave the water
If the victim goes into shock then being in the water presents a risk of drowning, getting out of the area quickly also reduces the likelihood of repeated stings.
Try not to scratch the affected area as you are only likely to disturb the barbs and cause further discomfort.
Ascertain if medical attention is required
Generally medical assistance is not needed but it is worth seeing a doctor if the sting:
- Covers more than half an arm or leg, the face or genitals or a large portion of the torso
- Results in a strong allergic reaction such as breathing difficulty, light-headedness, palpitations or nausea.
- Came from a box jellyfish which have extremely potent venom. Immediately seek medical attention, do not try to treat these stings yourself.
Steps to prevent stinging
Use warm seawater or baking soda to wash the affected area. Avoid using freshwater as it can reactivate the sting. Vinegar or urine are old wives tales; modern research suggests that these can actually make the stinging worse.
Remove tentacles and decontaminate
Use hot water to soak for around half an hour or use a cold pack as an alternative. The NHS recommends applying shaving cream to stop the spread of toxins.
While you remove the tentacles, keep as still as possible since the more you move, the more venom will be released. Use a razor blade or a bank card to gently lift and scrape the tentacles from the skin using an angle of around 30°. Improvise to try and remove barbs as soon as possible since they will continue to cause discomfort, avoid using bare hands as they will sting you instead!
Use a hydro cortisone cream or an antihistamine tablet to act against swelling and itching.
Depending on the severity of the sting and reaction you can:
- Use paracetamol, ibuprofen or other pain relievers and ice packs.
- Wash and clean any open sores and apply antibiotic ointment regularly three times daily and use bandages if necessary.
- For a serious reaction hospitalisation can be necessary for some days and for box jellyfish stings an anti-venom will be given
Accident Advice Helpline has a Freephone number manned by friendly and professional staff who will be able to ascertain if your claim is valid with no obligation to proceed. We have years of experience dealing with compensation claims including accidents on the road and accidents in the workplace, so call us today on 0800 689 0500 for more information about the claims process.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice