Jellyfish are really strange and funny animals; they’re not made of jelly (at least the kind we spread on toast), and they’re not really fish. But there’s nothing funny about getting stung by one of these soup bowl-sized, boneless sea creatures, which are often found floating near shores. After all, they’ve got tentacles with stinging cells that explode when touched, driving tiny, poisonous threads into their victims. Redness, welts, and/or hives are a sure sign that you’ve been stung; weakness, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting are sure signs you’ve been stung really bad. (And you thought mosquitoes were annoying!)
But don’t let those jiggly creatures turn your beach outing into a total washout. Ask a lifeguard or other swimmers if there’s a jellyfish alert on your beach, then steer clear of the water if there is one. Watch your step on the sand, too; even if a jellyfish looks high and dry on the shore, it could still sting. And if you or someone you know gets hurt, you can use vinegar to help soothe the pain. Just rinse away jellyfish body parts with this handy household helper and remove anything that’s left with a pair of gardening gloves. Wash the affected area with seawater, then ask a medical expert for the best way to start the healing process. He or she can direct you either to your local drugstore or to a hospital if the stings are serious.