Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Jelly Fish Sting (Toxicology)

Q: 24 year old scuba diver is admitted to ICU after jellyfish sting as previously he had a delayed anaphylactic reaction. Patient is complaining of massive burning at the site of sting. Nurse on duty is a wave-surfer. He advised to try topical lidocaine. Besides numbing the effected area, what added advantage lidocaine has in jelly fish sting?

Answer: Lidocaine, also prevents the further nematocyst discharge! And helps to squelch the stinging cells of jellyfish still stuck to the skin. 

Beside lidocaine, other treatments which can be considered for symptomatic relief are ethanol and ammonia. Acetic acid has been used widely but lately fell out of favor.


Morabito R, Marino A, Dossena S, La Spada G,  "Nematocyst discharge in Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria, Scyphozoa) oral arms can be affected by lidocaine, ethanol, ammonia and acetic acid". Toxicon. June 2014:: 83: 52–8.

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