Jellyfish Safety Tips

Many Spanish holiday-goers and expats alike are surprised to learn how much of pain, literally, medusas or jellyfish can be.  Fortunately, the majority of Mediterranean jellyfish are not deadly, just painful.  Here are the Nanny Line’s jellyfish safety tips for avoiding stings and what to do if you are stung.


To stay clear of the jellyfish:

  • Use the MedusApp to learn where the jellyfish are hiding out
  • Look out for the yellow (caution swimming),  🚩red (swimming forbidden), and/or  🏳 white with blue jellyfish flags flying along the beaches
  • Don’t touch any jellyfish that might have washed up on the beach
  • Talk to other beach-goers or the socorristas (lifeguards) to get a jellyfish status report


What happens when you are stung?  You may feel or see:

  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Itching
  • Swelling


What to do if you are stung:

  • Flush the area with sea water
  • Rinsing with vinegar will help to reduce some of the itching and stinging
  • Seek first-aid or medical care from a trained professional who will use tweezers for the removal of any remaining tentacles 
  • Take a warm shower or soak the area in warm water (40-45C) for at least 20 minutes
  • You can take an antihistamine (like Benadryl or Claritin in the US) and an anti-inflammatory such as Paracetamol or Ibuprofen to reduce pain, swelling and itching
  • Many pharmacies may sell a special jellyfish cream (such as Fenestil, After Bite, or Sting Zapper) to be applied to the skin to help with healing
  • Ice packs can also help to numb some of the stinging and itching


What NOT to do if you are stung:

  • Do not wash off with fresh or cold water (this can spread the poison)
  • Do not scratch, rub, or try to scrape the tentacles off with a credit card (sometimes suggested)
  • Urine does not neutralize the sting- don’t try the pee trick
  • Apply baking soda (doesn’t work)


Dial 112 and seek medical attention immediately if:

  • If more than half of the body has been stung by jellyfish
  • You start experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, muscle spasms 
  • You have had a prior allergic reaction to a jellyfish sting
  • The tentacles touched your eyes or inside your mouth
  • An elder, baby, or other person with an impaired immune system has been stung


Following the Nanny Line’s Jellyfish safety tips will help keep your summer beach days sting-free.  And not to worry if the jellyfish flag is flying at the beach:  Check out the Nanny Line’s recommendations for Barcelona’s child-friendly swimming pools.  Looking for an extra set of hands to keep everyone at the beach happy and safe?  Book a pre-screened, English-speaking babysitter online with the Nanny Line in Barcelona, Madrid, and Ibiza.

Has your family experienced a jellyfish sting?  What helped to make it feel better? Share your jellyfish safety tips with us on Facebook.

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