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The reaction that you have to a jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war
sting depends on many things. The potency of the venom changes with the type
of jellyfish and also is stronger during some seasons than in others. Other
things that affect the severity of your reaction include:
The pain from jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings may be
intense and may last for several hours. The skin at the site of the stings may
look dusky or bluish purple. Blisters and deep sores (ulcers) may
develop. Healing is generally a slow process that may take many weeks.
Permanent scars may occur at the site of a sting.
Small children are at risk for stings in the mouth if they put a
jellyfish or portion of a tentacle in their mouths. A sting to the mouth or
throat can cause sudden and severe swelling, which can be life-threatening.
Problems from jellyfish or Portuguese man-of-war stings may develop
right away or be delayed for several hours or days. A severe allergic reaction
(anaphylaxis) may affect any body system and require
emergency care. Symptoms can include any of the following:
Current as of:
June 4, 2014
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
& David Messenger, MD
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