Jellyfish: 5 Symptoms Beyond the Basic Sting

May 7th 2016

The best way to prevent a jellyfish sting is to stay out of the water when jellyfish are present. If you do get stung, you can treat most minor jellyfish stings at home, although the rash associated with the stings may not disappear completely for several weeks. Seek the advice of your physician if symptoms worsen or fail to dissipate over time.

Tracks on the Skin

Skin may turn red, brown or purple where the tentacles touched your body. These tracks take on the shape of the jellyfish tentacles, which may look similar in shape to a string, cord or rope. These tracks may not go away for several weeks, depending on the severity of the sting. After you remove the stingers, wash the area with salt water, baking soda paste or vinegar to remove any of the jellyfish stingers from the surface of your skin. Deactivating any stingers as soon as possible reduces symptoms later.


These jellyfish tracks may swell. Treat this inflammation with over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce swelling at the wound site and keep pain at bay. Try not to pick or scratch at the swollen areas to prevent bleeding.


A delayed skin rash may develop after the sting occurs due to hypersensitivity to the jellyfish sting. Treat the rash with oral antihistamines or prescription corticosteroids, depending on your doctor's recommendation.


Jellyfish stings may itch, even after the stingers go away and the pain subsides. Apply calamine lotion, Lidocaine or anti-itch cream to alleviate any itching at the wound site or from any resulting rashes. Scratching the wound could lead to infections and bleeding.

Allergic Reactions or Severe Stings

An allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting may require immediate medical attention. People who get severe stings should also see a medical professional as soon as possible. Symptoms of severe reactions include nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness and joint stiffness. Fever, loss of consciousness and difficulty breathing could occur with severe stings or allergic reactions. The severity of a jellyfish sting depends on the size of the jellyfish, how long the stinger stayed on your skin, how much of your skin the sting covers and your overall state of health. Children and people in poor health may have more serious reactions to jellyfish stings.


When a jellyfish stings you, it leaves a painful mark your skin. Victims often feel a sharp, stinging pain wherever a jellyfish's tentacles touch their skin. Signs and symptoms of the sting go beyond the initial pain. While most appear at the point of contact between the tentacles and skin, severe or allergic reactions can cause whole-body symptoms.

More in category

Related Content