Jellyfish Sting

  • Jellyfish stings are a common problem for people diving, wading or swimming in seawaters.
  • The long tentacles trailing from the body of the jellyfish can inject you with venom through thousands of microscopic barbed stingers.
  • Jellyfish stings vary in severity, however, often result in pain and red, irritated marks on the skin.

A 31-year-old Chinese man was admitted to the emergency department after being stung by a box jellyfish with multiple tentacles at Chawang beach on Samui island. The patient was initially treated with vinegar, 10 to 15 minutes after being admitted. However, later required cardiopulmonary resuscitation because his condition worsened. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and put on a respirator.

Types of jellyfish

Jelly fish are commonly known as the most venomous marine animals. The venom is a complex mixture of polypeptides and proteins including dermatonecrotic toxins, cardiotoxins and hemolytic toxins. In most cases of jellyfish stings, the signs and symptoms develop immediately after being stung. The wound characteristics are similar to step-like burn marks and caterpillar tracks.

There are many types of jellyfish that can cause severe pain and are more likely to cause a systemic reaction. Jellyfish that can cause serious problems in people are:

Box jellyfish

Box jellyfish stings cause intense pain and life-threatening reaction. The more dangerous species of box jellyfish are found in warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans.

Portuguese man-of-war

The Portuguese man-of-war or bluebottle jellyfish is mostly found in warmer seas.

Sea nettle

The sea nettle is commonly found in both warm and cool seawaters. They live along the northwest coast of United States and are found abundantly in Chesapeake Bay.

Lion’s mane jellyfish

Lion’s mane jellyfish is the world’s largest jellyfish with a body diameter of more than 3 feet. They are more commonly found in cooler, northern regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

While jellyfish stings are life-threatening in rare cases, some stings can cause systemic illness. Most jellyfish stings can be treated with home treatment, such as, applying vinegar. Although, severe reactions require immediate medical care.


Thaikruea, L., Siriariyaporn, P., Wutthanarungsan, R., & Smithsuwan, P. (2015). Review of fatal and severe cases of box jellyfish envenomation in Thailand. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health27(2), NP1639-NP1651.

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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