Is urine really the best way to treat a jellyfish sting? Doctors say no

If you're heading to the beach this summer, you need to be on the lookout for jellyfish. Along the Atlanic Coast, you're more likely to be stung by a jelly than bitten by a shark, Novant Health says, and doctors are breaking down myths on what you should do in case of a sting. 

Over the years, popular thought has been to use urine as a remedy. So, does it really work? 

Dr. Chad Weston with Novant Health Oceanside Family Medicine and Convenient Care says the thought behind it is correct-- liquids with a high PH, meaning they're acidic, help neutralize the jellyfish venom. But he says your best bet is white vinegar, it will work better and is more hygenic. 

Another good option is meat tenderizer. Enzymes in the tenderizer can break down protiens in the jellyfish venom, decreasing the itcing and burning.

Weston also says because of the burning sensation the sting causes, many people automatically think 'ice,' but stop right there. 

“Don’t stick your leg in a cooler full of ice,” Weston advised. “Use hot water instead.” 

Water at 110° of higher can bring more relief than ice or cold water. He also advises using fresh water rather than the saltwater likely near you. 

If the tentacles happen to get stuck to you, don't try to pull it off, or go flailing your arms and legs. Weston reccommends doing a vinegar rinse, then scraping the tentacles off with a credit card or another thin piece of plastic. He also says not to use wet sand-- it won't work as well. 

Timing is key. If you get stung by a jellyfish, fast action will minimize the effects. When you head out, bring a bottle of vinegar and some paper towels with you. Leave it in the sun to warm up in case you need a quick sting solution. 

Most jellyfish stings are mild, even if they don't seem that way, and with proper treatment will usually go away on their own. However, Weston says allergic reactions are possible and young children are more at risk for adverse side effects from a sting.

If the pain persists, or you or your child feel lightheaded, dizzy, or are having trouble breathing, visit an urgent care to get checked out.