Remedies for a Jelly Sting

Animals in the phylum Cnidaria, which means “stinging nettle,” possess stinging cells called nematocysts. Cnidaria includes jellies, box jellies, sea anemones, corals, sea pens and hydroids. Nematocysts are cells that operate like a combination between a spring and a harpoon. A spring with a barbed tip is wound underneath a trap door covering called an operculum. When properly stimulated, this door opens, allowing the poison-coated barbed tip to spiral out towards its target. Only certain species of Cnidarians have springs and barbs strong enough to penetrate human skin, which results in the commonly recognized jelly sting.


The well-known folk remedy for a Cnidarian sting is urine. However, urine has the wrong chemical composition for inactivating the nematocyst, so this method does nothing but supply embarrassment to the involved parties. According to the American Red Cross, the best way to deactivate the stinging cells when stung is to rinse the area with vinegar for 30 seconds. Then, according to the American Heart Association, the best way to relieve the pain of a sting once deactivated is to rinse or soak the area in hot water for 20 minutes.


We would like to thank you for visiting our blog. Catalina Island Marine Institute is a hands-on marine science program with an emphasis on ocean exploration. Our classes and activities are designed to inspire students toward future success in their academic and personal pursuits. This blog is intended to provide you with up-to-date news and information about our camp programs, as well as current science and ocean happenings. This blog has been created by our staff who have at least a Bachelors Degree usually in marine science or related subjects. We encourage you to also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Twitter, and Vine to see even more of our interesting science and ocean information. Feel free to leave comments, questions, or share our blog with others. Please visit for additional information. Happy Reading!