The rash and skin irritation that occurs with minor jellyfish or
Portuguese man-of-war stings will usually go away with home treatment.
Seabather's eruption is a rash that develops from the
stings of jellyfish or sea anemone larvae. Although these rashes are annoying, they are not
a serious medical problem.
When an itchy rash occurs several days to weeks after a sting, the
rash may mean a delayed skin reaction has occurred. A delayed reaction can
occur many times over the course of 1 to 2 months following a sting. You may
have a fever, weakness, or joint stiffness or swelling. Medical treatment may
be able to ease the discomfort and prevent complications from a delayed
Jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war stings may cause blisters or
small, shallow sores (ulcers). The skin at the site of the
stings may look dusky or bluish purple. Healing may take many weeks. Permanent
scars may occur at the site of a sting.
Sores usually heal without medical treatment. Wounds should be
cleaned 3 times each day and covered with a thin layer of antiseptic ointment.
But when a deep sore develops, you may need medical treatment to help the sore
heal and prevent infection.
May 20, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& David Messenger, MD
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