About Our Beach

Jelly Fish Of The Grand Strand

Vendor Information

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Website: http://saltwaterfishing.sc.gov/pdf/jellyscience.pdf


Jellyball - Stomolophus meleagris
Mushroom jelly - Rhopilema verrilli
The lion's mane - Cyanea capillata
Box jellies - Chiropsalmus quadrumanus and Tamoya haplonema
Sea nettle - Chrysaora quinquecirrha
Oceanic jelly - Pelagia noctiluca
Moon jelly - Aurelia aurita
Portuguese man-of-war - Physalia physalis

The phylum Colenterata - are hollow bodied animals often equipped with stinging units called nematocysts. Phylum Colenterata contains the class Hydrozoa (Portuguese man-of-war) which is a separate class from Scyphozoa (true jelly fish)

If you’ve ever felt the sting of a jellyfish, you know to steer clear. These graceful ocean dancers can ruin the best of beach days

Each jellyfish tentacle can house millions of stinging cells, called nematocysts, which eject a barbed thread and sometimes poison. Contrary to popular belief, jellyfish do not consciously sting; barbs are automatically released when an object comes in contact with the cells. Dead jellyfish can also be hazardous to beachgoers

The severity of jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings are variable. Since the nematocytes are located at frequent interval along the length of the tentacle, the exposure length of tentacle involved is a good measure of the number of stings delivered

Jellyfish stings can be serious, but are seldom fatal. Usually symptoms include a burning sensation, redness and welts, and swelling of the lymph nodes. Painful raised red lesions (papules) in lines (consistent with contact with the tentacle, Muscle spasms may develop in the affected extremity, The raised red lesions may develop into fluid filled lesions (vesicles) and may heal with pigmentation. With extensive or repeated exposures systemic reactions can take place, such as; nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness (vertigo), muscle weakness and irregular heart rate (arrhythmias) may occur. Other symptoms like, excessive tearing, runny nose and painful breathing (pleuritic chest pain)

In rare cases, a jellyfish sting may induce anaphylactic shock and require hospitalization

Treatment of Skin injuries from Jellyfish

First remove any adherent tentacles that will cause further delivery of venom. The tentacles should be lifted off the skin (don't scrape them off -- this causes further stings). Use a stick or some other object to remove the tentacle(s) so as not to get your fingers stung

Next, rinse the affected area with sea water to wash away any adherent nematocysts. DO NOT use fresh water, since this will activate the nematocysts

DO NOT scrub as this will only activate the nematocysts and cause further venom delivery

Nematocysts are inactivated by vinegar (or dilute acetic acid 5-10%)

NOTE: If no vinegar is handy, then human urine will do in a pinch. If you have a choice in the matter, use a man's urine rather than a woman's urine. Male urine is considered sterile, since men are much less likely to have a urinary tract infection

If there are any nematocyst still adherent after rinsing with sea water and inactivation with vinegar/urine, then try the following to remove any remaining nematocysts:

Dust the area with baking powder, or flour, then carefully scrape off with the dull back edge of a butter knife...

Or use aerosol spray shaving cream to coat the area, then shave off any remaining nematocyst

Symptoms of pain can be treated with topical anesthetics; these are generally contained in sunburn preparations; look for the active ingredients like lidocaine or benzocaine

Persistent redness, inflammation or itchiness can be treated with topical steroid cream like Hydrocortisone 0.5% cream

If you begin to develop persistent muscle spasms, seek medical attention; your doctor will need to administer intravenous calcium gluconate

Secondary bacterial infection may set in, especially if vesicles form. If this happens you will need to see a doctor for antibiotics.