I still remember the first time I was stung by a Jellyfish.  It was at 'Walls' in Waikiki. The funny thing is that it's not the pain that issued lasting trauma, as much as the sight of my buddy starting to whip his 'equipment' out of his trunks.  "Hold still. " he said, fumbling with his drawstring and his built-in swimshort web panty (what is the purpose of that anyway?  Oh well, a story for another day..).  I wasted no time in hurling a hunk of sand at his face, striking him square in the mouth.

No, he wasn't trying anything weird or experimentational...  He was trying to treat the Jellyfish sting the best way he knew how - to pee on my wound and treat me like a doggie treats a fire hydrant.  Needless to say, I passed on the remedy and toughed it out.  Even though it hurt like hell for hours afterward, it saved our relationship from venturing into the 'uncomfortable' zone.

The Hawaiian Box Jellyfish usually appears in mass quantities about 7-10 days after a full moon, and usually on the South Shores (especially tending towards Sandy Beach/Waimanalo/Hanauma Bay on the SouthEast, and Waikiki and Ala Moana on the South Shores).  It's been in the news a lot lately as literally hundreds are coming out of the water with nasty stings.

The Box is one of the most venomous sea creatures around.  People can easily die from multiple stings or allergies to the Jellyfish.  They aren't vicious creatures and don't go after you like Jaws... Rather they float around with the tides and actually attempt to avoid striking objects.  They have 4 eyes, spaced evenly around it's body, which allow the Jellyfish to process information from 360 around it's bell shaped head.  The box jellyfish here can have up to 60 tentacles that can reach over 3 meters long.  These tentacles are designed to help immobilize the Box Jellyfishes Dinner.  Transparent and Invisible, swimmers often have a tough time spotting the danger until it is too late.

Once an unfortunate swimmer comes in contact with the box jellyfish tentacles, stingers called nematocysts are stimulated.  Each of these nematocysts fire both a barb and poison into the victim, and the stinger is, as Lionel Richie put it, "Stuck on You".

Myths of the Box Jellyfish Antidote
THE SHI-SHI SOLUTION: Well, let's take a look at that 'shi-shi' antidote, shall we?  It has never been proven to work, and actually may cause some of the unfired nematocysts on the stinger to fire and inflict more damage, poison, and pain.  The only effect I can see Shi-Shi having is that the victim forgets all about the pain of the experience because he/she is so disgusted by getting a 'golden shower'.

MEAT TENDERIZERS: Also not proven to lessen or deactivate any of the effect of a box jelly sting.  Most this will do is make your skin nice and soft - Probably attract more sharks also.  Get away from me if you want to go swimming smelling like a juicy steak.

VINEGAR: Of all the common remedies, this one seems to have the most well  documented effect.  The goal here is to render the stingers inactive so they don't inject any further poison into your system.

Let's say you're stung... What do you do?
If you have some, pour vinegar on the tentacles first.  Then remove any remaining tentacles from your body.  Use a stick so you don't get stung on the fingers, and lift the tentacle off of you.  Once I was stung by a jellyfish that somehow journeyed up the leg of my trunks and stung me on the inner thigh.  People were looking at me as I grabbed a stick and started shoving it violently up my shorts.  If you need to rinse off the tentacle or put water on it, use sea water, as fresh water will activate the unfired stingers.  If you start feeling queasy, dizzy, or weak, get medical attention right away - Jellyfish poison works on the respiratory as well as pulmonary systems.

I still love my buddy and the sacrifice he was willing to make for me.  I'd suck the poison from a rattlesnake wound and give mouth to mouth to anyone in need, but when it comes to Jellyfish stings?   I make sure I've packed my handy bottle of vinegar in my beach bag... Just in case.