Home treatment can help ease your
discomfort and prevent other problems.
Jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings
Do not rub the
tentacles with your hands, a towel, sand, or
Use hot water on the area to help remove the nematocysts, the stinging part of the tentacle. If available, topical lidocaine can be applied to the sting area.
If hot water and lidocaine are not available, remove the nematocysts and wash the area with salt water.
For some types of jellyfish stings, a compress of household vinegar (5% acetic acid
solution) and hot water can be used on the affected area to prevent further
Do not use urine, gasoline, kerosene, or
Rinse eye stings with a saline solution, such as
Artificial Tears. Do not put vinegar, alcohol, or any other "stinger solution"
in the eyes. The skin around the eye can be dabbed with a cloth soaked in
vinegar, but you must be extremely careful not to get any of the solution in
After decontamination, pick off tentacles with a stick or
your hand protected by a towel or glove. Be very careful not to rub or press
If it is available, apply a lather of shaving cream
or soap, or a paste of baking soda, flour, or talc to the skin. The stinging
cells will stick to the shaving cream or paste and can then be easily scraped
off with a safety razor, a knife edge, or the edge of a credit
antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine or
chlorpheniramine, or apply
1% hydrocortisone cream to help control itching.
Note: Do not use the cream on children younger than age
2 unless your doctor tells you to. Do not use in the rectal or vaginal area in
children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to. Also, don't give
antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.