Medical Mythbuster: Can You Really Die from a Jellyfish Sting?

Fortunately, most jellyfish stings while very painful are not life-threatening. However, a few species are deadly and the venom from their sting can kill a person in a matter of minutes according to scientists. Fortunately, these deadly types of jellyfish do not inhabit our New England waters. (However, the Portuguese Man o’ War, a close relative of jellyfish that is found in our area, can in rare cases instances cause a life-threatening sting.)

Since the venom of certain jellyfish and the Portuguese Man o’ War can cause serious reactions and painful stings, it’s best to take some precautions in areas where dangerous jellyfish are common. Some sensible precautions you can take are wearing swimming shoes and a wetsuit for protection, being alert for jellyfish warnings in your area, and avoiding touching a jellyfish that has washed up on the beach (the tentacles are still very dangerous). Swimming near a lifeguard is also a good idea as they will be able to warn you of any sightings and offer first aid if you are stung. You can learn what to do if you are stung by a jellyfish or Portuguese Man o’ War here.

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