Evaluation of Cyanea capillata Sting Management Protocols Using Ex Vivo and In Vitro Envenomation Models

Toxins (Basel). 2017 Jul 7;9(7):215. doi: 10.3390/toxins9070215.


Lion's mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata) stings cause severe pain and can lead to dangerous systemic effects, including Irukandji-like syndrome. As is the case for most cnidarian stings, recommended medical protocols in response to such stings lack rigorous scientific support. In this study, we sought to evaluate potential first aid care protocols using previously described envenomation models that allow for direct measurements of venom activity. We found that seawater rinsing, the most commonly recommended method of tentacle removal for this species, induced significant increases in venom delivery, while rinsing with vinegar or Sting No More® Spray did not. Post-sting temperature treatments affected sting severity, with 40 min of hot-pack treatment reducing lysis of sheep's blood (in agar plates), a direct representation of venom load, by over 90%. Ice pack treatment had no effect on sting severity. These results indicate that sting management protocols for Cyanea need to be revised immediately to discontinue rinsing with seawater and include the use of heat treatment.

Keywords: Scyphozoa; cnidarian envenomations; first aid; hair jelly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / therapy*
  • Cnidarian Venoms / toxicity*
  • Erythrocytes
  • First Aid
  • Hemolysis
  • Hot Temperature / therapeutic use
  • Ice
  • Scyphozoa*
  • Seawater
  • Sheep
  • Urine


  • Cnidarian Venoms
  • Ice
  • Acetic Acid