How to deal with jellyfish stings

Jellyfish hacks! Good to know, because my kids always want to poke and prod the jellyfish that we find washed up on the beach. From Kimberly:

We live on the Gulf Coast and just got back from a beach trip — and it’s jellyfish season. Thankfully our 18 month-old didn’t get stung, but I did.

Here’s what to do for jellyfish stings:

  • Wash with seawater. Fresh water reactivates the stinging.
  • If the stingers are still there, remove them, preferably with gloves on so that your hands don’t get stung as well.
  • Pour either white vinegar or meat tenderizer on the sting to stop the pain.
  • Apply topical cortisone to stop the itching later. Done.

We know all of this and STILL forgot to bring the vinegar, meat tenderizer and cortisone. It’s probably something that should be in the beach bag just in case because nobody really knows when the jellyfish are going to be washing up at X,Y, or Z beach, and they don’t really advertise it when they DO know.

Related: Plastic snow sled as water table and beach tow


  1. says

    i recently wrote a post on about my family’s 4th of july/maryland beach experience with jellyfish. everyone there had a solution for stings from vinegar to tobacco to urine! haha… i’ll definitely keep cortisone and meat tenderizer in mind for next time.

  2. charis says

    The urine hack is real — my husband is from Florida, where he had to use it on one occasion, with success. Probably not the first choice of treatment, but will do in a pinch!

  3. Dave says

    Ammonia works best. The burning stinging feeling is caused by a poison that is in the stingers. That is why you don’t want to touch the stingers or rub the area to remove them. Ammonia denatures proteins (all poisons are long proteins made of amino acids linked together) by breaking some of the amino bonds rendering the poison harmless. You can put a mild solution in a spray bottle and keep one in the car (works for bee stings or anything that has poison) and one on the boat. Urine works because urine breaks down to ammonia and other things when it leaves the body and it is perfectly safe. Vinegar helps, but doesn’t relieve the itch. Any anti-itch cream will work if you don’t use ammonia. After Bite for Kids is a really good product for this and all other bug bites.

  4. says

    A better produkt, just now on the market JELLYCARD.
    You have a pocket size card, with acetic acid & aloe vera, combind in a plaltic “creditcard” with sharpe edges.

  5. says

    I totally agree with Maria and Stephen! I thought that y’all might like to see what the marine biologists, Docs, etc are recommending for jellyfish stings.

    Go to The product, Jellyfish Squish, contains Lidocaine, a known topical pain remedy at the maxium strength allowed by the FDA. It really works!! Not only does it stop the pain in just a couple of minutes, but paralyzes the remaining unfired stinging cells (nematocysts) on the skin so that they can’t continue to discharge additional venom.

    Vinegar, Ammonia, meat tenderizer, alcohol, and urine actually cause massive discharging of the sting cells and obviously are not a pain relievers (This is proven by research of prominent marine biologists). Also, do not touch scrape or shave the area for the same reasons.

    The testing was done at the Skidaway Oceanographic Institute, an extension of the University of Georgia. It is being sold all over the country and in the Bahamas.

    I researched them extensively, and no, I’m not a part of that company, just extremely thankful for what they’ve done for me and my family!!