MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - In the last ten days, Health First clinics throughout the Lowcountry are reporting a spike in the number of jellyfish stings among its patients.
Medical Director Dr. Bo Machado says clinics have treated at least ten cases in the past ten days.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Cannonball jellyfish are the most common in our area, particularly in summer and fall. This type is also the least venomous.
"The pain comes on almost instantly," Machado said of the sting.
"By the time we see them, they usually have an itching red, painful rash."
The Health First Director suggests packing rubbing alcohol and meat tenderizer before heading out to the beach. He says alcohol relieves the pain, while meat tenderizer breaks down the venom.
"If you open them one time, replace them, because they're going to be bad by the next time you use them," he added.
For severe symptoms, which include trouble breathing, or fainting, doctors say call 911 immediately.
Despite popular myths, both Dr. Machado and the State Department of Natural Resources discourage the use of urine as a form of treatment.
They say it can increase pain, and cause a severe skin reaction.
According to the DNR, the recovery periods for a jellyfish sting vary from several minutes to several weeks.