Should you pee on a jellyfish sting? It might not be the best idea …

24 May 2017

Image: Pavlina Trauskeova/Shutterstock

Contrary to popular belief, peeing on jellyfish stings might not hold up to scientific reasoning.

What is your favourite old wives’ tale? It could be the way that flat 7Up will fix most minor ailments (the sugar can help, but it’s not a wonder drug), or how eating before swimming gives you cramps (it doesn’t, and makes no sense).

But perhaps the best one, as it hangs on to a decent semblance of logic, is how peeing on a jellyfish sting is the quickest treatment.

The idea is that the acidity of urine can fight the nematocysts delivered by the jellyfish onto human skin after we swim into one of the pretty, but annoying, creatures.

However, does the science stack up? The American Chemical Society’s latest video investigation into random science provides all the answers.

It turns out that urine is nowhere near acidic enough to deal with powerful stings that cause humans pain. Worse still, the urine isn’t the right temperature, meaning that the sting can be exacerbated.

The best treatment, according to the American Chemical Society, is to wash the painful area out with seawater, then apply vinegar. The latter is not a fix-all, but it could relieve some pain.

Deep dive

Jellyfish are pretty fascinating.

Last year, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was diving in the Marianas Trench, thought to be the deepest part of the ocean, searching for new species of sea life.

On one of its trips, it captured footage of an amazing species at a depth of around 3,700ft, in what is aptly called the Enigma Seamount.

Scientists identified this hydromedusa as belonging to the genus Crossota, which are very small variants of what we see all over the world. They are often noted for their colourful heads (bells), which they have in abundance.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic