POSTED: 09:04 p.m. HST, Jun 24, 2012
A study of jellyfish stings in Hawaii and on the mainland has found no one treatment vastly superior to others, but putting hot water and a mild painkiller on the sting “appear more widely beneficial,” the researchers say.
Applying vinegar to the sting seems to increase the pain, except with Portuguese man o’ wars, said the research team, made up of four doctors at the UC San Diego Medical Center.
Their review of the relevant medical literature was published June 8 in the Annals of Emergency Medicine under the title, “Evidence-Based Treatment of Jellyfish Stings in North America and Hawaii.”
“Hot water and topical lidocaine appear more widely beneficial in improving pain symptoms and are preferentially recommended,” their report says.
Unfortunately, they say, those items may be difficult to get at beaches or dive sites.
So removing the barbs and washing the area with salt water is perhaps the best approach, they say.
Among the proposed treatments they looked at are vinegar, urine, ammonia, hot water, ice, a cold pack, baking soda, meat tenderizer and local anesthetics such as lidocaine or benzocaine. Aloe is not mentioned.