The purpose of the study is to attempt to determine which treatment from commonly used
treatments is the best at reducing pain and redness of the skin after a sting from a
Portuguese Man of War, Chrysaora chinensis, or Chrysaora fuscescens.
Jellyfish stings are a common occurrence in many parts of the world causing significant
morbidity to persons stung by jellyfish while participating in marine activities whether
commercial or recreational. Much debate and confusion exist both in the medical literature
and the common recommendations regarding how to treat persons stung by jellyfish.
Specifically concerning what topical treatments are most efficacious at decreasing
envenomation by nematocyst on skin, preventing the firing of un-discharged nematocyst,
decreasing inflammation and pain resulting from envenomation by nematocyst. Antidotal
recommendations and past studies have referenced numerous different topical treatments for
jellyfish stings including but not limited to vinegar, urine, alcohol, distilled spirits,
ammonia, bleach, acetone, bicarbonate slurry, lidocaine, meat tenderizer, Coca Cola, old
wine, salt water, cold packs, hot water, and commercial products such as Stingose and
Stingaid. Conflicting data exists regarding what works and what does not for nematocysts
discharge, skin erythema, and pain reaction.
The investigators would like to investigate which treatment is best out of some of the more
commonly studied treatments for reducing pain and erythema.
The investigators would like to complete a research study to try to bring some reasonable
evidence to the field treatment of jellyfish stings, namely, the decontamination process
(e.g., what can you put on a jellyfish sting that will be helpful, based on real data?).
The questions asked are as follows:
- What topical treatments for jellyfish stings actually decrease the amount of
inflammation seen on a macroscopic level on the skin of humans?
- What topical treatments for jellyfish stings actually decrease the sensation of pain in
- Do topical chemical treatments cause different outcomes when exposed to the above
- Do different species of jellyfish nematocysts react differently based on the type of
topical chemical treatment used? What is the variation of effects of topical treatments
based on the species of jellyfish sting?
Specifically, the investigators will be stinging human subject on both arms with a segment
of tentacle for approximately 2 minutes. This will be followed by no treatment on one arm
(control arm) and by treatment on the other arm with either: acetic acid (5%), sodium
bicarbonate slurry (50%), papain slurry (70%), ammonia (10%), viscous lidocaine (4%),
isopropyl alcohol (70%), or hot tap water (40 degrees Celsius). Outcomes measured will
include pain and erythema.
- Ages 18-65 years
- Healthy volunteers
- Known history of allergic reaction or anaphylaxis to prior Cnidaria sting of there
- Family history of anaphylaxis to any sting from either Cnidaria, bee, or wasp