Hawaii Jellyfish Stings | 2014 Caution Dates and New Treatment

Hawaii Jellyfish Stings | 2014 Caution Dates and New Treatment

There’s good news ahead for Hawaii ocean goers. Read on for today’s update from the University of Hawaii regarding a new topical treatment in the works for a jellyfish sting. Jellyfish have long been a problem in Hawaii and they only seem to be getting worse. Use our 2014 calendar of caution dates in today’s post to plan a “sting-free” Hawaii vacation.

As you probably know, jellyfish affect south facing Hawaii beaches. These include Oahu’s Waikiki, Ala Moana Beach Park, Haunama Bay, and the Waianae Coast as well as Kauai’s Poipu Beach.  Maui and Big Island beaches can also be affected but typically have fewer problems.

Here in Hawaii, jellyfish types include the box, moon and lagoon varieties.

Jellyfish Tips

Awareness. Check with a lifeguard for sure and look for jellyfish washed up on the sand as an indication of a problem.

Timing. You’ll usually find jellyfish on impacted beaches eight days following a full moon. The problem can persist for three days. If you’re here during a jellyfish invasion, talk to the lifeguard for advice.  Also check the beach to see if any jellyfish have washed ashore.

2014 Hawaii Jellyfish Sting Caution Dates

While jellyfish stings can happen at other times, these are the most likely dates when problems may occur.

January 25 to 27
February 23 to 25
March 25 to 27
April 24 to 26
May 23 to 25
June 22 to 24
July 21 to 23
July 30 to August 1
August 19 to 21
September 18 to 20
October 17 to 19
November 15 to 17
December 15 to 17

Jellyfish Treatment Coming

The University of Hawaii has come up with what is apparently the first effective topical treatment for jellyfish stings. When one of its researchers was stung badly fourteen years ago she began studies which have now yielded an effective treatment. While not available yet, patents for the gel have already been applied for.

Have you been stung by a box jellyfish? Please let us know in comments below.

Ready for a Hawaii vacation on a budget? View all recent Hawaii Travel Deals.

Beat of Hawaii photo at Waikiki Beach.


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27 Comments

  1. Christine (5 months ago)

    Regarding the U of Hawaii “Treatment Coming” headline, there are already effective topical first-aid products available for jellyfish stings. And the medical treatment guidelines recommend an acetic acid solution: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/122/18_suppl_3/S934.full#content-block. StingMate is a 5% acetic acid gel, which meets the recommended guidelines and is available to buy now. I have seen other products as well but some contain lidocaine or ammonia, which are not recommended.

  2. Jess (5 months ago)

    I got stung April 13 2014 around 12pm swimming to chinamans hat. I had no idea there were jellyfish in the area. Never saw anything in the water or any signs. Don’t know what kind of jellyfish either. It got my entire leg.

  3. janel (6 months ago)

    Sunday 3/30/2014

    My daughter was stung today at Anahola beach (5pm) on Kauai… standing ankle deep at the edge of the waves. She felt the shocking zap-sting, looked down and saw a bluish blob on her foot & kicked it off onto the waves. She walked over to me & showed us her foot saying she had just been stung. There was a tentacle still attached (that had blue lines in it). My husband pulled it off (he got a bit of sting on his fingers too). Both doing ok now after multiple home remedies & a call to the doctor.

  4. Jojo (6 months ago)

    Thx for the info! I was stung today by a man of war @ Lanikai Beach. Didn’t even see it, just felt it. Left welts on my back.

  5. Sarah (6 months ago)

    I was stung today by a Man of War jellyfish. I was just standing with my boyfriend on the shore when it washed up and wrapped around my ankles. It left a lot of welts and hurt pretty bad; I was sick for a few hours but now I’m fine. This was at Bellows.

  6. Kelly Galvin (7 months ago)

    I got stung outside the Westin three days ago on Kanapali beach

  7. meg trebon (10 months ago)

    My daughter got stung this afternoon at Kam III in Kihei. She described a “line of blue dots in the water” that she saw immediately before a wave washed them on to her. Ouch. Lifeguards were great – got her to a hot shower ASAP.

  8. Amie (11 months ago)

    Five people from our group were stung by jellyfish on Kamaole III today.

  9. Gary (11 months ago)

    Partner was stung in Kapalua Bay 8 years ago or so, but don’t know what kind of jellyfish. Never saw it, but left deep welts.

  10. Linda (11 months ago)

    Snorkeled Kapalua Bay just at the border of Napili in Maui yesterday. Amazing assortment of fish, some turtles too. Best snorkel spot to date. To my surprise, very near shore in the middle of the sandy beach was a deep red jelly fish the head the size of a basketball with very long skinny tentacles. Maybe a man o war? It was floating near the surface. When snorkeling we tend to look down but you can bet I will be checking the surface too for the rest of our snorkeling trip. We are off to Big Island tomorrow.

  11. Ruth (1 year ago)

    I was stung yesterday at 6:45am about 100 yards off shore at Lanikai Beach. I was wearing goggles but did not see anything. I just suddenly felt like a razor had cut me across my face and then my upper arm. Thinking that where there is one there are usually others I was terrified as I swam back to shore that I would swim right into a group of them. Was that a legitimate concern? I’m a strong swimmer but the pain made me feel weak. There happened to be a couple of early birds on the beach and they crushed a white berry growing there and had me rub it on the stings. I googled for sting treatments the second I got home (a painful 10 minute walk) and saw that what I most wanted – a cold shower – was a bad idea. Based on what I read I tried rubbing alcohol to no effect. Vinegar which helped a little. I put on shaving cream and shaved over the stings to remove any tentacles although I couldn’t see any. Just the thought of them being under my skin had me anxious. Finally I tried what sounded the least appealing, a hot water compress, and guess what? That was what helped the most!

    I usually swim every day but I have to admit, this has me spooked. Any advice on what do when you’re stung? Are there others around? Is rubbing wet sand on the stings helpful? Thank you!

  12. Nadine (1 year ago)

    Hi

    On November 3, 2007, while swimming with my husband off Waikiki beach, I felt that I had been bitten or stung by something on the wrist, despite the fact that I did not see anything in the water. Immediately it did not feel like anything other than odd or “what was that?”. However as the seconds ticked by I could feel that something was wrong, and told my husband I had to get out of the water right away. By the time I was back on the beach, the pain was excruciating, and I told my husband that I needed to get off the beach as I felt like all I wanted to do was scream. I did go to the lifeguard and he said it was a jellyfish sting. At the same time I could hear a small child screaming, and I instinctively knew by the sound of that scream that he or she must also have been stung. I can best describe this pain as if I someone was holding my wrist over an open flame and I could not take it away. Ice helped quite a bit, but i could not remove the ice bag for hours or the pain would return, it was much better within 24hrs. Both my husband and I had never heard of this happening before off the Waikiki beach, and only later did we see the jellyfish
    warning signs on the beach.

  13. Tanya (1 year ago)

    30th August, My 6yr old was stung today there was signs up will take more notice next time :(

  14. Don (1 year ago)

    Stung on Waikiki beach morning of August 2, 2013 @ 6:15 am.

  15. Cj (1 year ago)

    My daughter was stung 20 July at bellows around 4p

    • Beverly Mason (1 year ago)

      My husband was stung July 4 2013 and friend stung next day. Both mild and at Lagoon 2 on Oahu ko Olina

  16. Beverly Mason (1 year ago)

    Many years ago, in October of 2007, I was snorkeling in the bay over at Lanai while on a snorkel / sail cruise. Suddenly my husband and I started seeing what appeared to be tiny “sparks” in the water. Hey were tiny like cinder spark. Then I started to feel the stinging pain on my face. I rushed to the surface and boarded the boat. My lips were swollen huge, my face was puffy and every bit of it burned and stung unbearably. The captain had me stand under the freshwater shower for a while. After about 30 minutes the pain subsided. The captain said it was a swarm of jellyfish that wouldn’t normally have been there at that time. He actually seemed very surprised. I NEVER want to experience that again. Luckily during my other 4 trips to Hawaii I never have.
    Do you know what kind of jelly fish that would have been??

    • Beat of Hawaii (1 year ago)

      Hi Beverly,

      No that isn’t anything I’ve heard of before. Maybe someone else might know and reply.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Aloha.

  17. Betsy Morrigan (1 year ago)

    On June 4, 2013 I was recently stung badly at the Kona Pier while getting on and out of a canoe, from my feet to my thighs, by what they call “sea lice,” a swarm of miniature jellyfish. I am covered with welts large and small and my feet have swelled up quite a bit. These welts are terribly itchy. I put hydrocortisone cream on them and took Loratadine pills.. I also am soaking my feet in ice cold apple cider vinegar which is helping a lot.

  18. Mike Stroud (1 year ago)

    I was stung swimming along Waikiki beach on the morning of Jan. 5, 2013. The warning signs were put up after my stinging. I was visiting and I wish there had been more of a warning, or information coming my way that the water was about to so possibly hazardous for me to swim in that morning. Fortunately, for all its intense pain for a few hours, the whole thing was over in less than twelve hours.

    • char (10 months ago)

      my son was stung by something .i was wandering did you throw up my son said he started throwing up seconds after the sting on his hand so he layed on surf board for awhile.talked to life guard there and they said no jellyfish for another two days so he said it wasnt a jelly fish .

  19. John Ryan (1 year ago)

    got stung at waikiki about 200 yds out. Was not sure I was going to make it back to shore. Life gaurd who had lived in hawaii all his life said it was the worst sting he had ever seen. would not go to hospital because I have no insurance-went to clinic but they made me go to hospital-I’ve been stung before but this one was beyond pain-like being shocked electically for 3hr nonstop-month later still have a scar-be carefull

  20. Renee (1 year ago)

    Thanks for the info, and most especially for the calendar! I’ll be watching!

  21. Michael (1 year ago)

    Don’t forget the Portuguese Men of War which are always present, carried by winds and tides. Tiny, yes; but they still sting.

  22. DJ (1 year ago)

    Details of the study are here:

    http://manoa.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=5482

  23. Ed (1 year ago)

    Do we have a list of known jellyfish types in the Hawaiian Islands?
    Specifically the Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji Jellyfish.

    • Beat of Hawaii (1 year ago)

      Hi Ed.

      In addition to the infamous box jellyfish, there are also moon and lagoon varieties. By the way, the Waikiki Aquarium has a great jellyfish exhibit.

      Aloha.