Urine said ineffective for jellyfish sting

July 22, 2011 at 11:52 AM

LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- The widespread belief that urine can lessen the pain of a jellyfish sting is misplaced, and seawater or vinegar are more effective, the British Red Cross says.

The chemical makeup of human urine is unsuitable for the task, the organization said.

The advice was offered amid reports of increasing numbers of jellyfish off British beaches just as school summer holidays are beginning, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

"If people have been stung, they need to get out of the water to avoid getting stung again. Once out, slowly pouring seawater over the sting will help ease the pain," said Joe Mulligan, head of first aid at the British Red Cross.

"Doing the same thing with vinegar can be even more effective as the acid helps neutralize the jellyfish sting," he said. "But unless you're near a [fish and chips] shop, seawater will probably be easier to find."

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