NEWPORT, Ore. -- Delicate and transparent, moon jellies float through a tank at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. In a nearby tank, sea nettles flash long red and curly gold tentacles.
They're also found swimming off the Oregon Coast and occasionally wash up on beaches, where it's not safe to get so close.
Resist the urge to help one back out to sea, said Evonne Mochon Collura. As a senior aquarist at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Mochon Collura has been working with jellyfish for several years.
"If you see them on the beach, chances are they've been kicked out of a current, washed up on the sand," she said. "They're no longer going to survive out in the ocean, so I would not recommend returning them to the water."
Even after a jellyfish dies, the stinging cells on its tentacles remain. As such, Mochon Collura has the following advice for treating stings:
- DO rinse with cool salt water
- DO NOT use warm water; it will make the sting worse by triggering more stinging cells
- DO apply vinegar or a paste made with water and baking soda to neutralize the sting
- DO NOT rub the sting; this also will spread stinging cells
- DO call 9-1-1 or your doctor if you feel nauseous or dizzy after being stung, or if your pulse does not return to normal.
There's also that strange method mentioned in movies and television shows. Will urinating on a jellyfish sting help?
"I don't recommend it," said the Oregon Coast Aquarium senior aquarist. "It is known in the jelly keeping industry that is a solution, but as jelly keepers we say, 'Really, find some vinegar first or baking soda.' Even if you're on a picnic, one jelly keeper suggested using mustard. It has vinegar in it."