This myth is a little gross, but it’s one we should address.
No doubt you’ve heard the tale (also immortalised by that iconic episode of Friends) that peeing on a jellyfish sting will help alleviate the pain.
If the idea of having to ask your mate or family member to pee all over you if you get stung was enough to discourage you from ever going to the beach, you can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this myth isn’t actually true.
In fact, according to Healthdirect Australia, you should never urinate on a jellyfish sting.4 If you’ve been in the unfortunate position of either the one who released the flow or the one who received the stream, you’re no doubt feeling a little red-faced right now.
The origins of this myth are tricky to place, but the Friends episode probably has something to do with it!
How do I treat a jellyfish sting?
Jellyfish stings are usually pretty painful and, for the most part, don’t need to be treated in hospital.5 However, some types of jellyfish can deliver a dangerous sting that needs emergency help.
For bluebottle (Portuguese man o’ war) and other minor jellyfish stings, Healthdirect Australia recommends:
- washing the sting with seawater;
- carefully removing any tentacles remaining on the person; and
- running the sting under hot water (taking care not to cause burns) or having a hot shower. An icepack can be used if hot water isn’t available.
However, if the stung person is experiencing emergency symptoms (like unconsciousness, severe pain or vomiting), you should call an ambulance.