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Q: Marine Stinger Research ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Marine Stinger Research
Category: Science > Biology
Asked by: dredga01-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 May 2004 18:41 PDT
Expires: 23 Jun 2004 18:41 PDT
Question ID: 351441
Has vinegar now been proven to be ineffective against Marine Stinger Contact?

Clarification of Question by dredga01-ga on 24 May 2004 18:57 PDT
Please Quote Source.
Subject: Re: Marine Stinger Research
Answered By: clouseau-ga on 24 May 2004 21:09 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello dredga01,

Thank you for your question.

A page at DSN Sports notes the following:

Awareness, Prevention and Treatment of world-wide marine stings and bites

Dr Peter Fenner

Honorary Medical Officer, Surf Life Saving Australia

International Life Saving Federation Medical/Rescue Conference 

Proceedings September 1997

"...Vinegar: -

* Is usually ineffective for the skin pain of a jellyfish sting
* Does NOT reverse the effects of venom already injected
* Vinegar PREVENTS FURTHER STINGING on any tentacles that may remain
on the skin after a Box-jellyfish (especially Chironex fleckeri)
* Vinegar may prevent further discharge of stinging cells after an
Irukandji sting, or Portuguese man-o?-war sting

Vinegar should not be used without first testing a small area of the
sting for adverse effects. It may cause further discharge of stinging
cells, increasing skin pain or systemic envenomation effects..."

And, at Marine Medic Australia

you will find a very interesting report where vinegar was shown to
potentially have the opposite effect of that desired.

The following book is reviewed at this site and notes:

Williamson, J.A., P. J. Fenner, J. W. Burnett, and J. Riflin (eds).
1996. Venomous and poisonous marine animals: a medical and biological
handbook. Univ. So. Wales Press, Sydney. $130. 504 p.

"...Most stings should not be treated with vinegar. Vinegar just
increases the discharge of the nematocysts. Treat victims with
embedded Echinoderm spines with hot water (p. 317) for best

And the following thread on Google Groups also recommends against vinegar:

"...Wrong, not *any* marine stings Dr. Smartypants; there are some
marine stinger injuries out there where if you apply vinegar, you will
harm the victim even more. However, if someone has been stung by a box
jellyfish, the FIRST thing they need is vinegar to neutralise the
poison and keep the
damage to skin and flesh to a minimum..."

There was precious little else to be found on this other than the
standard recommendations to use vinegar. But, as you can see, some
research has shown this not to be effective and could potentially
increase the damage done.

Search Strategy:

"marine stinger" +vinegar +ineffective
"marine stinger" +vinegar

I trust my research has provided you with a useful answer. If a link
above should fail to work or anything require further explanation or
research, please do post a Request for Clarification prior to rating
the answer and closing the question and I will be pleased to assist


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