Jellyfish Sting: Home Treatment

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Topic Overview

The rash and skin irritation that occurs with minor jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war stings will usually go away with home treatment. Seabather's eruption is a rash that develops from the stings of jellyfish or sea anemone larvae. Although these rashes are annoying, they are not a serious medical problem.

When an itchy rash occurs several days to weeks after a sting, the rash may mean a delayed skin reaction has occurred. A delayed reaction can occur many times over the course of 1 to 2 months following a sting. You may have a fever, weakness, or joint stiffness or swelling. Medical treatment may ease the discomfort and prevent complications from a delayed reaction.

Jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war stings may cause blisters or small, shallow sores ( ulcers ). The skin at the site of the stings may look dusky or bluish purple. Healing may take many weeks. Permanent scars may occur at the site of a sting.

Sores usually heal without medical treatment. Wounds should be cleaned 3 times each day and covered with a thin layer of antiseptic ointment. But when a deep sore develops, you may need medical treatment to help the sore heal and prevent infection.

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ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014