Nothing can ruin a fun day at the beach like getting stung by something hiding in the water, so it always helps to be prepared. All kinds of marine life can sting you, but there are different ways of treating these wounds which heavily depends on what hurt you in the first place.
We always want you to be prepared so you can enjoy your time under the sun! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of animals that can sting you along with instructions on what to do if it happens. Don’t forget to check our bonus feature that shows one of the earth’s most surprising animals that has a powerful sting.
1. Portuguese man-of-war
The Portuguese man-of-war is a complicated creature found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It’s not actually a single being, but rather, a “colonial organism” made up of different animals and polyps that cannot survive on their own. It injects poison into its victims through its tentacles, causing the victim to suffer from chest pain, difficulty breathing, and even death.
Habitat: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans
Treatment: Over the years, there have been many “home remedies” people used to treat the stings from alcohol, sea water, and shaving cream to urine and baking soda. However, a recent study claims that applying warmth and vinegar to the wound is the best option. Try to contact medical services in case of an emergency.
Unlike the Portuguese man-of-war, the jellyfish is a singular organism. These marine animals usually are free-swimming in the ocean but some are anchored to the sea bed by stalks. Their tentacles have microscopic stinging cells that are normally used to catch prey or as a defense. Normally, the sting causes pain and redness. In more serious cases, their stings can cause serious illnesses and even death.
Habitat: All over the world, from surface waters to deep in the ocean
Treatment: As mentioned above, urine is a popular treatment for these stings, but it’s just an old wive’s tale. Similar to how you’d treat a Portuguese man-of-war sting, vinegar and warmth are the best treatment options. You must also make sure to remove any tentacles with tweezers, not by scraping them off. Also, try to identify the jellyfish. Lion’s mane jellyfish, sea nettle jellyfish, and box jellyfish can do serious damage with their sting, so try to get medical treatment as soon as possible.