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What if You Step on a Dead Jellyfish on the Shore?

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The concept of getting stung from a postmortem animal might seem a little unsettling, but it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. If you ever spot a dead jellyfish on a beach, stay away from it. A dead jellyfish retains the menacing ability to sting you.


Jellyfish are equipped with handy tentacles that enable them to hunt for food successfully. Those same tentacles, however, can be extremely painful for people who come into contact with them -- and experience stings. If you're enjoying a peaceful scenic beach stroll, a jellyfish who just recently passed away can deliver an unpleasant sting to you. If you're ever in the ocean, you can get stung by a jellyfish that's alive, all the same. Never assume a jellyfish in any form is innocuous.


When a jellyfish stings a person, it brings upon the introduction of countless nematocysts that cut through the skin and deposit poison. These tentacles don't cease to emit the poison until they're completely off a person's body, attire and accessories included. Some of these stings are particularly intense, while others are not. It always is a case-by-case scenario. Regardless of how exactly you feel after stepping on a dead jellyfish, prompt medical assistance is a good idea. Be smart and cautious.

Typical Signs

If you got stung by a dead jellyfish, you might experience typical signs such as lack of sensation in the specific spot, immoderate itchiness, a subtle prickly feeling and intense burning inflammation. You might even see the emergence of conspicuous purple, brown or crimson markings. Never ignore any of these symptoms.

Extreme Symptoms

In extreme cases, stinging by jellyfish dead or alive can lead to more powerful adverse effects. These effects vary in how fast they show up. They sometimes occur as soon as a person gets stung, and in other cases can take hours to manifest. They include throwing up, nausea, reduced blood pressure, feebleness, labored breathing, blacking out, fever, joint ache, feeling lightheaded, problems with the heartbeat and cardiac arrest. If you -- or anyone around you -- display any of those effects, get urgent medical care immediately. Stings from jellyfish are no laughing matter. They can sometimes be deadly.