Summer is near and so are the jellyfish.
As people are welcoming summer and running to the beach to enjoy sunny and peaceful beach days in central Florida, more than 800 people visiting Volusia County beaches have been stung by moon jellyfish in just three days, reported CNN.
On Saturday alone, lifeguards treated 107 beachgoers, with the amount spiking to 523 on Sunday and to 180 on Monday. Lifeguards treated a total of 837 stings over the course of the weekend alone.
Although a high number, Tammy Malphurs, spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety, said that it wasn’t the largest amount of stings that the beaches have ever seen.
“It’s not a record, but it’s definitely a high number,” she said.
But what’s bringing these jellyfish closer to the shore in such large quantities? Liz Driskell, Beach Safety Deputy Chief of Administration, says the current is bringing the jellyfish closer to shore.
“As they get tumbled out there in the water, the tentacles become broken off and then the tentacles are just floating around and that’s what’s stinging people,” Driskell told Fox 13 News. “That’s why they’re not seeing a big, large jellyfish.”
Moon jellyfish are the most common species of jellyfish and are typically seen washed up on the shore after high tide or storm surge. High winds also push the jellyfish to the shore. They are seen on beaches in large masses during jellyfish season once or twice a year.
“The thing that really grabbed me was those jellyfish everywhere,” beachgoer Jayson Ness told Fox 13 News. “You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a bunch of them.”
Tonya Kronk, of Daytona Beach, also fell victim to the stings.
“I took my body board out past the sand bar and it wasn’t five minutes before I got stung,” Kronk told CNN. “I went to catch a wave and it just kinda stuck to my leg, it was wrapped around it and I couldn’t get it off fast enough.”
The stings, although painful, are easily treatable by rinsing the area with white vinegar and removing any visible tentacles, according to Mayo Clinic. Those who are stung should seek immediate medical help. The Mayo clinic also recommends soaking the area with hot water. In some cases, people may have an allergic reaction to jellyfish stings, so it’s important to be on the lookout. Lifeguards are trained to treat jellyfish stings and have white vinegar on hand.
Central Florida beaches flew purple flags to warn swimmers of “Dangerous Marine Life,” Malphurs added. The best way to be sure not to get stung is to avoid the water “because you really can’t see them while you’re in the water, until it’s too late.”
CBS News also reported that seven people were rescued by lifeguards from the rough surf on those beaches.