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What should we do if our toddler gets stung by a jellyfish?
Jellyfish tentacles release a very irritating toxin that leaves a line of raised, itchy, painful bumps. If your child is stung, rinse the affected area with saltwater (or vinegar, if you or the lifeguard have it on hand). Don't use fresh water, which can worsen the injury. If stingers are left on the skin, apply a baking soda paste and "shave" the area with the edge of a credit card to remove them, which will slow the injury's progress. If an arm or leg was stung, immobilize it with a splint to stop the venom from spreading. If the pain doesn't lessen on its own in the next four to six hours, call your pediatrician. Some people have allergic reactions to a jellyfish sting, so if your child experiences severe abdominal discomfort or respiratory distress, see the lifeguard, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
Jellyfish, anemones, fire corals and other sea animals have the potential to sting even after they're dead. Make sure your child doesn't touch any that wash up on the beach.