HOUSTON (CW39) – The Texas coastline, including our very popular Galveston Beach, is lucky to hold a variety of marine life. Instead of being afraid of what is in the water it is best to learn how to live in conjunction with wildlife with respect and safety for it and yourself.  

Along the Gulf coast you may notice these small transparent jellies floating around in the shallow waters. Don’t be alarmed, they normally have a presence here. These are moon jellies! They are the least dangerous for humans to come in contact with. If you get stung by a moon jelly you will feel only a minor stinging sensation. This is not an event that will ruin your beach trip or have you crying. Only expect to have a mild irritation on the surface of your skin.  

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – Moon Jelly

Should you pee on a Moon Jelly sting?  

NO! This is a total myth. Rinsing the sting area in sea water is the easiest way to treat these stings, but if it is still irritated after rinsing with sea water, a baking soda and sea water cocktail can be a good application to the wound. 

The Texas coast is home to several jellyfish species including the purple stinging Portuguese man o’ war, moon jellies, Atlantic stinging nettle, and the harmless cabbage head jellyfish. 

Each species packs a different punch in their sting. Getting stung by a Portuguese man o’ war can be especially dangerous to some. You can spot them by the purple-and-blue balloon-like sails.  

The Portuguese man o’ war is recognized by its balloon-like float, which may be blue, violet, or pink and rises up to six inches above the water line. Image credit: Elizabeth Condon, National Science Foundation

Rarely are men o’ war deadly to people. Only a small population of beach goes experience potentially deadly reactions to the venom they release. If you are stung, expect immediate burning pain and redness where the tentacles touch the skin.  Blisters and lesions may also appear. 

Should you pee on a Portuguese man o’ war sting?  

STILL NO! In fact, the salt and other compounds in pee can irritate the stinging cells that could be still on your skin. The pee can become a trigger for the release of more venom, inflicting more pain!