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Article

Differing Effects of Vinegar on Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) and Carybdea marsupialis (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) Stings—Implications for First Aid Protocols

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ICM-CSIC-Institute of Marine Sciences, Department of Marine Biology and Oceanography, Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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ISDIN, Innovation and Development, C. Provençals 33, 08019 Barcelona, Spain
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2021, 13(8), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080509
Received: 15 June 2021 / Revised: 18 July 2021 / Accepted: 20 July 2021 / Published: 21 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cnidarian Venom)
The jellyfish species that inhabit the Mediterranean coastal waters are not lethal, but their stings can cause severe pain and systemic effects that pose a health risk to humans. Despite the frequent occurrence of jellyfish stings, currently no consensus exists among the scientific community regarding the most appropriate first-aid protocol. Over the years, several different rinse solutions have been proposed. Vinegar, or acetic acid, is one of the most established of these solutions, with efficacy data published. We investigated the effect of vinegar and seawater on the nematocyst discharge process in two species representative of the Mediterranean region: Pelagia noctiluca (Scyphozoa) and Carybdea marsupialis (Cubozoa), by means of (1) direct observation of nematocyst discharge on light microscopy (tentacle solution assay) and (2) quantification of hemolytic area (tentacle skin blood agarose assay). In both species, nematocyst discharge was not stimulated by seawater, which was classified as a neutral solution. In P. noctiluca, vinegar produced nematocyst discharge per se, but inhibited nematocyst discharge from C. marsupialis. These results suggest that the use of vinegar cannot be universally recommended. Whereas in case of a cubozoan C. marsupialis sting, the inhibitory effect of vinegar makes it the ideal rinse solution, in case of a scyphozoan P. noctiluca sting, vinegar application may be counterproductive, worsening the pain and discomfort of the stung area. View Full-Text
Keywords: jellyfish; sting; first-aid; vinegar; seawater; nematocyst discharge; Pelagia noctiluca; Carybdea marsupialis jellyfish; sting; first-aid; vinegar; seawater; nematocyst discharge; Pelagia noctiluca; Carybdea marsupialis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ballesteros, A.; Marambio, M.; Fuentes, V.; Narda, M.; Santín, A.; Gili, J.-M. Differing Effects of Vinegar on Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) and Carybdea marsupialis (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) Stings—Implications for First Aid Protocols. Toxins 2021, 13, 509. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080509

AMA Style

Ballesteros A, Marambio M, Fuentes V, Narda M, Santín A, Gili J-M. Differing Effects of Vinegar on Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) and Carybdea marsupialis (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) Stings—Implications for First Aid Protocols. Toxins. 2021; 13(8):509. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080509

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ballesteros, Ainara, Macarena Marambio, Verónica Fuentes, Mridvika Narda, Andreu Santín, and Josep-Maria Gili. 2021. "Differing Effects of Vinegar on Pelagia noctiluca (Cnidaria: Scyphozoa) and Carybdea marsupialis (Cnidaria: Cubozoa) Stings—Implications for First Aid Protocols" Toxins 13, no. 8: 509. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins13080509

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