Jellyfish Safety: Forget these mistakes and treat your sting the right way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There's a safety alert for beach goers in this week's What's Going Around.

More jellyfish stings were reported recently from our area beaches. Over the weekend, lifeguards treated up to two dozen painful jellyfish stings.

READ MORE: Caution advised at Jacksonville Beach after jellyfish stings

Doctors and lifeguards say that number could rise as more jellyfish are brought on by big storms. They're urging you and your family to watch your step and stay ahead of the sting.

Getting stung by a jellyfish can feel like thousands of tiny needles prickling you all at once. Their tentacles are covered with venomous cells that inject poison once they latch on to you, said Jennifer Hickman, a family nurse practitioner with Minute Clinic.

If you're stung by one, the good news is you DO NOT need to use urine to treat it..

"It's not necessary. Actually, urine can cause more pain into the wound so I definitely don't recommend using that," said Hickman.

She suggests the best thing you can do is rinse the wound with seawater or vinegar to take away the sting. Use tweezers instead of a credit card to pluck away any remaining tentacles. Scraping it off can cause more pain by triggering the stingers. Clean the wound with warm water next and use a topical antibiotic ointment like bacitracin to start the healing process.

"Place it on top of the actual wound. Then use a nonstick pad placed on top of the wound before wrapping it with gauze. Keep it covered until you see it scabbing over which means it's healing​," said Hickman.

The area should be cleaned three times a day with the antibiotic ointment re-applied until healing occurs.

Portuguese man o'wars pack a more powerful punch because of the venom they carry.

READ MORE: Man O' War and rip currents problems in St Augustine Beach

They may look like a harmless blue balloon but their tentacles can cause a sting lasting 2 hours. Some stings could be deadly or cause potential shock or paralysis.  Hickman urges you to avoid them at all costs.

Call 911 or seek immediate medication attention if you're stung.