CLINICAL TRIAL
COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL
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A randomized paired comparison trial of cutaneous treatments for acute jellyfish (Carybdea alata) stings.

The objective of the study was to compare cutaneous treatments (heat, papain and vinegar) for acute jellyfish (Carybdea alata) stings. Healthy adult volunteer subjects received a single-tentacle jellyfish sting on each forearm. One forearm was treated with hot-water immersion (40-41 degrees C). This was compared with the other forearm, which was randomized to a comparison treatment of papain meat tenderizer or vinegar. Pain was measured at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, and 20 minutes using a 10-cm visual analog scale (VAS). For 25 subject runs, the average VAS scores at t = 0 were 3.6 cm (hot water) and 3.7 cm (comparison treatment). At t = 4 minutes (2 minutes after treatment had started), the differences between hot-water and comparison group VAS scores were 2.1 cm versus 3.2 cm, respectively. The mean difference between hot-water and comparison treatments was 1.1 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.6 to 1.6). At t = 20 minutes (the end of the study period), the differences between hot-water and comparison group VAS scores were 0.2 cm versus 1.8 cm, respectively. The mean difference between hot-water and comparison treatments was 1.6 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 2.3). This study suggests that the most efficacious initial treatment for C alata jellyfish envenomation is hot-water immersion to the afflicted site.

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