Jellyfish stings: Vinegar only makes it worse

Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC) guidelines that recommend a liberal dousing of the sting area with vinegar for 30 seconds may in fact cause more harm than good when used as first aid to treat box jellyfish stings. 

Researchers from the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) and James Cook University have discovered that vinegar can actually promote the further discharge of venom. 

Venom expert and lead researcher Associate Professor Jamie Seymour said the findings were completely unexpected.

His team started looking into box jellyfish stings to compare outcomes for the people who had received vinegar as first aid versus people who had not, assuming that the people who got vinegar would need fewer pain killers, which would show definitively why vinegar should be used. 

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