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How to treat a jellyfish sting

Tips for parents on how to treat jellyfish

Tips for parents on how to treat jellyfish stings. Credit: Pixar

Q. What is the best thing to do if my child is stung by a jellyfish?

A. "Probably the best thing is to go to first aid," says Greg Woods, lifeguard captain at Robert Moses State Park Field 5. If no first-aid station is nearby, Woods recommends flushing with fresh water or rubbing with dry sand to spread out the poison.

At the first-aid station at Jones Beach State Park, the staff rinses the site with sterile water and applies

sting-relief spray, says Jocelyn Smith, the EMS supervisor. Although some recommend putting distilled white vinegar on the sting, and the first-aid station has it, the staff doesn't usually use it because they've found it doesn't help, she says.

The severity of reaction to a bite -- itching, pain and redness -- varies according to the person, just like a mosquito bite, Smith says.

Some people are allergic to a sting or are more sensitive and may have a stronger reaction, Woods says. "Most of the jellyfish we get around here aren't that dangerous, unless they're allergic to it," he says.

The clear, blobby jellyfish that frequently arrive in August do not sting, Woods says, but the ones with red in them do, he adds.

Long Island doesn't usually get the more venomous

Portuguese man-of-war, with the long tentacles, found in warmer tropical climes, Woods says. While last summer dozens were found in the waters off the Hamptons, they were all dead.

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