Avoid Jellyfish Stings


Jellyfish have many thin “arms” called tentacles that are loaded with stingers. Most kinds of “jellies” aren’t dangerous to people, but many kinds can give you painful stings and a rash. Here’s how to keep from being stung, and how to treat a sting if a jelly does get you.

What You Do

  1. How to Keep From Being Stung
    • Watch for any signs that may be posted at the beach warning you of jellyfish. If you don’t see any signs posted, ask a lifeguard if there are any reports of them. If the answer is “yes,” stay out of the water!
    • No lifeguard? Then it’s smart to ask nearby swimmers or boaters if they’ve seen any jellyfish. If the coast is clear, plunge in, but keep an eye out while swimming.
      Don’t touch any jellies you find on the beach. Even if they’re dead, their tentacles still might zap you!
  2. How to Treat a Sting
    • If you are stung at the beach, get help from a lifeguard.
    • Many websites list different “home remedies” for jellyfish stings. Here is one of these sites, which you can check out with a grownup’s help. Many of these remedies haven’t been proven, so it’s always smart to check with your doctor for his or her advice.
    • Most jellyfish stings—at least in U.S. coastal waters—just cause temporary discomfort. But a few people are highly allergic to the stings. If you start having trouble breathing, or feeling sick to your stomach, or getting a rash in areas where you weren’t stung, get to a hospital or emergency clinic, or call 911 immediately.jellyfish