To Pee or Not To Pee

A couple years back I was traveling in North Africa when I was stung by a jellyfish on a rather sensitive part of my body (the story of that unfortunate day can be read here: it’s great if you’re in to schadenfreude). To resolve the pain I eventually used my own urine on the sting, a process which I felt helped reduce the burning and one which I have subsequently recommended to others should such a situation arise. A friend recently sent me a link from a “reputable news source” (MSNBC—ha, what do they know with their “science” reporters and their “research”?!?) purporting to debunk this maritime myth, and in the begrudging spirit of being-willing-to-be-righted I offer the link here.

An important caveat the article notes is that in cases when one is dehydrated—and thus one’s urine is highly-concentrated—human pee can effectively soothe jellyfish stings; this was in fact the case when the original sting occurred and as such I stand by my homeopathic remedy. I suppose the casual consumer of this new information could agree with the article and conclude that including a small bottle of vinegar in one’s beach bag would be a simple, cheap and effective solution for just such situations. To this line of reasoning I say, Pshaw!, and instead I recommend the following:

When planning to swim in waters where jellyfish may be an issue you make sure to keep your body sorely under-hydrated so that your urine will be sufficiently concentrated should you/it be called upon to treat your own or others’ wounds. I can hear the critics already caterwauling and so I’ll admit that Yes, it’s true that I’m not a medical doctor and Yes, it’s also true that you could listen to the “real” doctor’s advice as provided in the article: “I would not recommend that you go to a beach and start urinating on each other“; or—or— you can live freely and boldy and have a truly memorable moment with your own body, or, if you’re really lucky, a loved one’s.

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