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Health Information For Kids
Jellyfish live in the ocean and usually don’t bother anyone. They just float around and look weird, sometimes washing up on the beach.
A jellyfish jiggles like gelatin, and some just look like small, clear blobs. But others are bigger and more colorful with a bunch of tentacles that hang down underneath them, kind of like an octopus.
Beware those tentacles! Jellyfish sting so that they can catch and eat other sea creatures. But that sting can be turned on people. Jellyfish can sting if they brush against you when you’re swimming in the ocean. You also can get stung if you step on a jellyfish, even a dead one.
Usually, jellyfish stings will hurt, but are not emergencies. Most cause pain, red marks, itching, numbness, or tingling. But a few types of jellyfish (mainly found in Australia, the Philippines, the Indian Ocean, and central Pacific Ocean) are very dangerous, and can make people very sick quickly.
Jellyfish stings aren’t like bee stings when it comes to the stinger. A bee sting leaves behind a single stinger that you can usually see and pull out.
When a jellyfish stings a person, it leaves thousands of very tiny stingers called nematocysts in the skin. These stingers can continue to release jellyfish venom (poison) into the person’s body.
If you get stung, take these two steps right away:
See the lifeguard next, if there’s one at your beach. He or she may be able to help and also can warn other swimmers.
It’s best to rinse a sting with vinegar. Tentacles left on the skin can be plucked off with a pair of tweezers. Why does vinegar work sometimes? Vinegar is a weak acid. For some kinds of jellyfish stings (especially from dangerous types like box jellyfish), it might keep the stingers from firing.
Here’s what a parent or other adult can do to help you feel better if a jellyfish stings you:
Someone needs to call for an ambulance right away if a person who’s been stung:
Swim only at guarded beaches, where you’re more likely to get a warning about jellyfish from lifeguards. They might post a sign or fly a warning flag. Some beaches fly a purple warning flag whenever there’s “dangerous marine life” in the water.
Also, remind your mom or dad to keep a small container of vinegar and a pair of tweezers in their beach bag.
Kids love to spend hot days splashing around in a pool or the ocean. But drowning is the second most common cause of death from injuries among kids under the age of 14. Learn how to be safe.
Go outside! Just be safe out there. Find out how to handle stinging bugs, thunderstorms, sunny days, and icy cold days, too.
You swam! You splashed! And now you have it: swimmer’s ear.
The black widow spider is one of six poisonous kinds of spiders in the United States. Learn more about them!
It’s fun to be outside on a hot, sunny day. But too much sun and heat can make you feel terrible. Find out how to stay safe in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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