How ‘perfect storm’ of jellyfish stung 1,200 Florida beach-goers within days: Local officials
iStock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) — Hundreds and hundreds of central Florida beach-goers enjoying the sun and surf this week were faced with a very unpleasant shock.
About 1,200 beach-goers were stung by jellyfish just from Saturday to Wednesday in Volusia County, said Captain Tamra Malphurs, Public Information Officer for the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue.
None of the incidents were life threatening, she said.
“This number is very high — it’s not something that happens more than once a year on average,” Malphurs told ABC News.
There’s no average number of jellyfish stings at Volusia County beaches, Malphurs said, adding that the area doesn’t have a peak jellyfish season.
“The jellyfish are just pretty much at the mercy of the winds or currents,” she explained, so the county can go weeks without one sting, and then when a group of jellyfish float in, shorelines could see up to 100 stings per day.
The water temperature this week has been typical for the time of year, Malphurs said, so she doesn’t attribute the uptick to that. Instead, she blames the rising popularity of the county’s beaches.
“People are really flocking here — on the weekends it’s extremely busy. We’re at capacity in most areas,” she said, so more people just happen to be enjoying the water.
More people in the water, combined with the winds and the current, created the “perfect storm” of stings this week, she said.
Here are some of Malphurs’ tips for what to do if stung by a jellyfish:
— Get out of the water and avoid rubbing the sting, which can make it worse.
— Rinsing the area with vinegar is a common treatment.
— Most jellyfish stings are not life threatening and usually the pain dies down after a few minutes.
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