Ouch…..That was a jellyfish. Most of us who live in Mallorca or frequently go on vacation to the Mediterranean have certainly had it happen to us at some point: While swimming, you get too close to one of the unloved flabby animals. Sometimes even unknowingly, you have not seen the jellyfish itself. But their tentacles are 2 to 3 meters long and equipped with thousands of poisonous cnidoblast capsules. The stinging venom can cause severe burning skin irritation when it comes into contact with humans.
As the jellyfish season is still ahead of us – usually it starts at the end of summer/beginning of autumn, when the Mediterranean Sea is particularly warm – we at Allmedica Puerto de Andratx would like to point out how to react correctly after contact with a jellyfish, which home remedies are suitable and what should definitely not be applied to the damaged skin.
Unfortunately, the doctors in our practice in Mallorca often find that patients treat themselves incorrectly or underestimate the contact with a jellyfish (“…there are also in the Baltic Sea…”).

Are jellyfish dangerous on Mallorca?

In Mallorca, fire jellyfish and luminous jellyfish are the most common. Contact with them is painful, but usually not life-threatening. Less frequently sighted is the Portuguese Galley, whose tentacles grow up to 50 meters long. Again, contact is painful but not fatal to healthy people.

What synthomes occur after a jellyfish sting?

Contact with a fire jellyfish native to the Mediterranean Sea causes pain, itching and a rash, but is usually not dangerous. Special caution and medical treatment is required only if the person has a severe allergic or panic reaction.
Where the nettles of the jellyfish have touched the skin, in some cases pus-filled blisters form, which burst open after some time. In some cases, jellyfish stings are often accompanied by permanent scarring.

What should you do after a jellyfish sting?

Get out of the water immediately, of course, but stay calm and seek help from others if necessary. To inactivate the stinging cells, you can pour vinegar mixed 1:1 with seawater on the affected skin areas. If vinegar is not available, optionally use only salt water to rinse off any remaining tentacles.
It is best to remove any tentacle residues mechanically, if possible without touching them with the hands, for example with a flat stone. Strong pressure should be avoided to prevent further cnidocytes from bursting and being activated.
Under no circumstances should fresh water or alcohol be poured over the affected areas. This activates the hives that are still present.
Medication and cooling help against the pain. But beware: ice cubes (fresh water) must be wrapped in plastic.
Caution. Jellyfish washed up on the beach should also not be touched.

When should a doctor be consulted?

If a larger area of the body is affected by jellyfish stings, a doctor should be consulted, because the skin can react like a burn if the toxins are very strong, including scarring. Allergy sufferers should definitely consult a doctor’s office after contact with jellyfish.

In our medical practice in Puerto de Andratx we treat patients who have involuntarily come into contact with jellyfish. In most cases we can send our patients home after a conversation , removal of the last pieces of tentacles and administration of antihistamines. Jellyfish stings are unpleasant, but usually go smoothly if you follow some rules of first aid.