Everyone loves to visit the beach and go swimming in the ocean
However, there is one creature that can be dangerous if you come into contact with it: the jellyfish.
The jellyfish is a round, furry-looking sea animal with long tentacles.
Many species of jellyfish exist and they vary in size, color, and how they sting their victims.
Behind the Sting
The jellyfish stings its victims by using special cells called nematocysts.
The Nematocyst is a bulb-shaped capsule within the cnidocyte of jellyfish, containing an actively-expanding tubule and venom.
Within each nematocyst is a coiled protein thread that is 1000 times thinner than a human hair.
These protein threads are stored in small sacs within the nematocyst.
When the cell detects something foreign, it explodes sending the protein thread shooting out.
These protein threads are harpoon-like in how they attach to the victim’s skin so that the jellyfish can bring its prey back into its body for digestion.
One species of jellyfish called the box jellyfish is most dangerous because it has venomous stingers on each tentacle which shoot nematocysts into the victim.
How to Treat a Jellyfish Sting
Once stung, the victim usually experiences severe pain, nausea, headaches, and vomiting which can sometimes lead to death.
One way to treat jellyfish stings is with vinegar which prevents additional firing of nematocysts so that the relief one gets from rinsing off in freshwater will last longer.
Vinegar neutralizes the venom, however, using vinegar can be difficult to do in a practical setting.
Stings happen without warning while people are swimming in the ocean.
If someone gets stung by a jellyfish, one should remove the tentacles and treat the sting immediately.
Applying ice packs can help reduce swelling and pain as well as prevent heart problems that may arise due to the venom.
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