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Get out of the water! Jellyfish stings can be extremely painful and you could lose your ability to swim.
Remove stingers by applying shaving foam to the sting area. Scrape the skin closely with a razor, knife blade, or credit card. If you don’t have a plastic card, rub sand over it to dislodge the stingers and rinse it off in salt water.
Deactivate the remaining stingers. In the case of a plain old jellyfish sting, blot or pour 3-10% percent acetic acid solution (white vinegar) on the sting with a clean cloth. If no vinegar is available you can use salt water or any type of meat tenderizer which has papain (papaya enzyme) to neutralize the venom (Adolph’s is the one of choice). See warnings regarding the meat tenderizer treatment. If you cannot use meat tenderizer or vinegar than try the following:
Remove any venom in the skin by applying a paste of baking soda and water and using a cloth covering. If possible, reapply paste every 15-20 minutes. Ice can be applied to stop the spread of venom until either of these is available.
Take a very hot shower. A 15-20 minute hot shower can deactivate the venom of some jellyfish, particularly the Hawaiian box jellyfish, carybdea alata.
Soothe any remaining skin irritations with over-the-counter antihistamine pills or creams containing diphenhydramine. One example is Benadryl ™.
Get medical care if the victim is experiencing any symptoms worse than skin irritation or has trouble breathing.
Severe stings need to be wrapped after treatment to keep them from getting infected.