Does Peeing on a Jellyfish Sting Make it Stop Hurting?

*Correction: At 0:14: Jellyfish have been around for 600 million years, but we incorrectly read 6 million in the narration. We apologize for missing this. Thanks to Eric Dabbs and Mark Bare for bringing this to our attention.

Special thanks to San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay for letting us film their beautiful jellyfish. Find out more about them here:

Sure, jellyfish look pretty serene, but we all know the evils that come from a run-in with those tentacles. You’ve probably heard the rumor that peeing on a jellyfish sting can make the pain go away, but does this icky old wives tale stand up to science?

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Nematocysts firing footage is courtesy of Ron Koss at the University of Alberta.

Owl Service
Sam Leopard – Back For More

Elaine Seward

Judith Lavelle

Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Scientific consultants:
Susan Richardson, Ph.D.
Mike McGill
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Kyle Nackers

“Jellyfish and Comb Jellies” Smithsonian Institute (2014)

“Take a look at a jellyfish sting in slow motion” PBS (2014)

“What’s Behind That Jellyfish Sting?” Smithsonian Magazine (2013)

“Should We Stop Using Vinegar To Treat Box Jelly Stings? Not Yet—Venom Experts Weigh In On Recent Study” Discover (2014)

“Old Wives’ Tale? Urine as Jellyfish Sting Remedy” ABC News (2006)

“What You Need to Know About the Coming Jellyfish Apocalypse” Mother Jones (2014)

Jellyfish Stings and Their Management: A Review

Ever wonder why dogs sniff each others’ butts? Or how Adderall works? Or whether it’s OK to pee in the pool? We’ve got you covered: Reactions a web series about the chemistry that surrounds you every day.

Reactions is produced by the American Chemical Society.

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