accessibility & help

British Red Cross Jellyfish First Aid Advice

30 July 2013

A jellyfish in the sea

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Penny Sims 020 7877 7044 /
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Following warnings from the Marine Conservation Society of increasing numbers of jellyfish along Britain’s coastline, the British Red Cross is warning beach-goers not to trust the old myth that fresh urine is the best treatment for jellyfish stings. 

With the recent hot weather increasing sightings of moon, compass, blue and lion’s mane jellyfish, the chances of bathers running into the vicious creatures - with potentially painful consequences - are increasing.  

“A sting from a jellyfish can be extremely painful, but trying to treat it with urine isn’t going to make your day any better,” said Joe Mulligan, British Red Cross head of first aid.

“Urine just doesn’t have the right chemical make-up to solve the problem.”

Instead, a better source of treatment is even easier at hand: salty seawater. 

“If people have been stung, they need to get out of the water to avoid getting stung again. Once out, slowly pouring seawater over the sting will help ease the pain,” said Joe.

“Doing the same thing with vinegar can be even more effective as the acid helps neutralise the jellyfish sting. But, unless you’re near a chip shop, seawater will probably be easier to find.”

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Notes to editors

The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies
in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on
with their lives.

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