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Should I get someone to urinate on me if I have a jellyfish sting?

Judy Royal

It conjures up a pretty disgusting image: There you are, reeling in pain after what you planned to be a nice relaxing swim in the ocean, and now you have to get someone to pee on you. The notion that urine is a good remedy for a jellyfish sting has been around for a long time. Wouldn’t it be awful if it was nothing but a fish story?

Well, turns out it is, according numerous Internet sources and a registered nurse at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, whom we contacted to help us set the record straight. Here’s what Patricia Fields, director of New Hanover Regional Emergency Medical Services/VitaLine, a nurse advice and physician referral call center, had to say:

“Urinating on a jellyfish sting is a common folk tale that is not substantiated by any scientific evidence. Alternative medicine followers believe urine has curative powers, but to my knowledge urine is not used in conventional medical therapy. As a side note, survivalists know that you can drink your own urine  for a limited amount of time if no other liquids are available.”

Instead, for a jellyfish sting VitaLine’s guidelines recommend: (1st) rinse the area with well with sea water – not fresh water. (2nd) use the edge of a credit card and gently scrape any remaining tentacles off the skin. (3rd) combine 1 cup of baking soda and 1 gallon of fresh water in a bucket and rinse the affected area for 20-30 minutes.

So, look to the sea and not pee if you encounter a jellyfish who wants to get a little too close. And save the urine for when you’re stranded on a deserted island.

User-contributed question by:
Linda Wilson

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3 Responses to “ Should I get someone to urinate on me if I have a jellyfish sting?”

  1. On May 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm Lisa wrote:

    I worked at a physicains office and we used white vinegar and luke warm water to ease the pain and redness of a jelylfish sting…Good luck

  2. On May 29, 2009 at 1:07 pm Ron wrote:

    Anything vinegar based works best on jellyfish stings…meat tenderizer, urine and other myths persist but vinegar works best….

  3. On February 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm Ferd wrote:

    Any venom is protein based. Since meat tenderizer breaks down the meat via enzymes it may play a role in breaking down the venom.

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