New study shows what works -- and what doesn't -- for jellyfish - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New study shows what works -- and what doesn't -- for jellyfish stings

File image File image
MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Box jellyfish stings are fairly common in the islands, especially during the monthly influx of the animals.

But the best way to treat them is based on bad research and old wives’ tales.

A team of University of Hawaii researchers wanted to change that, so they took a look at all of the common treatments for box jellyfish stings to figure out which worked. (Rather than using human subjects for the study, they recreated the effects of a sting in a lab.)

So what did they find.

Turns out a common remedy – vinegar – actually is effective in removing tentacles from skin. A new product called Sting No More, developed by a member of the team, is also effective.

And it's a good idea to use a hot water compress after a sting to treat its effects.

Seawater, urine, soda, ethanol and alcohol had no effect on stings.

And fresh water poured over the sting? Well, that made things worse.

The report, published this week in the journal Toxins, was aimed at helping first responders and oceangoers take the right steps after a jellyfish sting.

The study comes in the wake of a 2015 report that claimed putting vinegar on a jellyfish sting could worsen its effects. The UH team refuted that claim.

“Authoritative web articles are constantly bombarding the public with unvalidated and frankly bad advice for how to treat a jelly sting,” said Dr. Angel Yanagihara, lead author of the paper and UH assistant research professor, in a news release.

“I really worry that emergency responders and public-health decision makers might rely on these unscientific articles. It’s not too strong to point out that in some cases, ignorance can cost lives.”

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly