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No, peeing on a jellyfish sting does not relieve the pain

You've probably heard that old wives' tale and probably seen it in movies and read it in books. People claim peeing on a jellyfish sting is the best cure.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With warm temperatures expected across the Carolinas this week, it's a great time to hit the pool, go on the boat or even head to the beach. 

And if you do choose the beach, remember there are some critters in the ocean that can leave a mark, especially jellyfish, which are already washing up on Carolina beaches

You've probably heard an old wives' tale that claims to take the pain out of a jellyfish sting. Some people claim peeing on a jellyfish sting is the best way to cure the pain, and it's even been reflected in some movies and books. 


If you get stung by a jellyfish, should someone pee on the sting to cure the pain?



No, peeing on a jellyfish sting does not relieve the pain, and doctors warn against it. 

This is false.


According to the Mayo Clinic, jellyfish use tentacles and can inject you with venom from thousands of microscopic barbed stingers. This venom can create a burning, prickling, stinging pain. So should you have someone pee on you to relieve the pain? 

"Absolutely not," Kohli said. "Peeing on a jellyfish sting can actually make the problem worse."

Both Kohli and Robinson say this is not a good treatment, but say there's a reason people believe it works. 

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"There is some thought that maybe the fact there is ammonia and urea in urine that maybe try some type of relief," Robinson said. 

They both said that though urine contains these compounds, it's too dilute to actually create relief. 

"With actually peeing on a jellyfish sting, you can cause more of the release of venom from the stingers depending on how to dilute or how concentrated the urine is by changing the electrolyte of the environment," Kohli said. 

The best way to relieve the sting is to get back into the saltwater. 

"The first thing to do is actually enter back into the seawater and remove those tentacles that may be attached to your skin at the sight of the sting," Robinson said. 

"The second thing you want to do is put some vinegar on it," Kohli added. "That's one of the things in studies that shows some relief or Ibuprofen."

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Of course, both doctors say if the pain or redness from the sting gets worse, you should go see a doctor. 

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text lus at 704-329-3600 or visit /verify.

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