A randomized paired comparison trial of cutaneous treatments for acute jellyfish (Carybdea alata) stings

Am J Emerg Med. 2002 Nov;20(7):624-6. doi: 10.1053/ajem.2002.35710.

Abstract

The objective of the study was to compare cutaneous treatments (heat, papain and vinegar) for acute jellyfish (Carybdea alata) stings. Healthy adult volunteer subjects received a single-tentacle jellyfish sting on each forearm. One forearm was treated with hot-water immersion (40-41 degrees C). This was compared with the other forearm, which was randomized to a comparison treatment of papain meat tenderizer or vinegar. Pain was measured at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, and 20 minutes using a 10-cm visual analog scale (VAS). For 25 subject runs, the average VAS scores at t = 0 were 3.6 cm (hot water) and 3.7 cm (comparison treatment). At t = 4 minutes (2 minutes after treatment had started), the differences between hot-water and comparison group VAS scores were 2.1 cm versus 3.2 cm, respectively. The mean difference between hot-water and comparison treatments was 1.1 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.6 to 1.6). At t = 20 minutes (the end of the study period), the differences between hot-water and comparison group VAS scores were 0.2 cm versus 1.8 cm, respectively. The mean difference between hot-water and comparison treatments was 1.6 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 2.3). This study suggests that the most efficacious initial treatment for C alata jellyfish envenomation is hot-water immersion to the afflicted site.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Adult
  • Bites and Stings / therapy*
  • Cubozoa*
  • Emergency Treatment / methods*
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • Male
  • Pain / pathology
  • Pain / prevention & control*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Papain / administration & dosage
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Papain
  • Acetic Acid