DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A wave of jellyfish stings is ruining the final days of the summer 2022 beach season in Central Florida.
Volusia County Beach Safety reports at least 200 reports of jellyfish stings over the week, bringing the total to over 700 reported stings since last Wednesday. The beach patrol says this problem is tied to the weather.
"If we have a strong onshore wind for a period of time, sometimes we will see them start popping up," explains Deputy Chief Tamra Malphurs with Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
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Swimmers are the most vulnerable because jellyfish can be invisible in the water. Walkers must be careful not to step on one that has washed ashore.
"If you're walking the beach, and you see a jelly-like creature, a lot of times they have different colors," Malphurs warns. "The Man-O-War is purple. If you see anything like that, you know they are in the water."
Beach goers should also monitor conditions by checking out the flags flying on the beach.
"Our lifeguards go out and swim first thing in the morning. We will know right away if we are seeing any jellyfish. We will fly that purple flag. So, if you come to the beach for the day, check out the flag conditions," she says.
Swimmers can familiarize themselves with the beach warning flags here. You can also monitor beach conditions by checking out the FOX 35 Storm Team camera atop the Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach.
If you get stung, don't panic! It hurts but is not life-threatening in most cases.
If you're near a lifeguard stand, report what happened. Lifeguards are equipped with vinegar to wash the wound which will diminish the pain of the sting. If you're headed to a beach that doesn't have lifeguards, consider carrying a bottle of vinegar in your beach bag.
The experts advise don't rub the sting, that will only make it worse.