UH researchers discover effective treatments for jellyfish stings

UH researchers discover effective treatments for jellyfish stings

Dr. Angel Yanagihara is Hawaii's box jellyfish expert. She's researched them for 18 years and is the brains behind an innovative skin-relief product called Sting No More.

"We've developed technologies that allow for rapid inactivation of the stinging cells that are left on the surface of the skin, as well as a cream that will inactivate the venom in the skin upper layers of the skin," Yanagihara said.

The spray and creams are sold at Hanauma bay and online. U.S. Special Forces Combat divers also use the product.

"I was contacted because these combat divers were experiencing severe career ending stings," said Yanagihara.

Aside from Sting No More, Yanagihara recommends rinsing a sting with vinegar and immersing it in hot water.

"Any site pressure will make it far worse," she said. "So rubbing or scraping it absolutely don't do."

Stay away from using ice and cold water on a jellyfish sting.

"It's a transient illusion of the reduction of the pain, but the venom is still in there and as soon as it warms up again it's going to be game on," Yanagihara said.

Yanagihara is now taking her research to the next level. She's designed a set of experiments using live, stinging tentacles and live human red blood cells to test which first-aid measures helps reduce the venom delivered with a jellyfish sting.

Yanigahara's mission going forward is to test out treatments for stings from other common Hawaiian species, including the Portuguese Man O' War.

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