Urinating on a jellyfish sting stops it from stinging

Previous Myth

We’ve all seen the Friends episode ‘The One With The Jellyfish‘. Joey, Monica and Chandler are at the beach when Monica has an unfortunate encounter with a jellyfish. Faced with this problem, Joey falls back on something he learned from a documentary. After Monica and Joey are unable to follow through with it due to stage-fright, Chandler fulfills the deed. Unfortunately for us though, it wouldn’t be so simple in real life as this is actually a myth.

Urinating on a jellyfish sting doesn’t negate the effects of the venom and in some cases will make it worse. Jellyfish tentacles contain cells called nematocysts that contain venom, these cells rub off on your skin when stung. The aggravation of the cells causes them to release their venom which is what causes the pain. Urinating on the jellyfish sting could make it worse as it alters the solute surrounding the cells. This aggravates them and prompts them to release more venom, the same thing would happen if you were to wash it with freshwater as well as it would also alter the solute.

Bonus fact: Scientists have observed that rinsing it in seawater will be more effective as it will not alter the dilution of salt surrounding the cells. You can also wash the sting with vinegar or a 5% acetic acid to achieve the same result.

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