Hundreds stung by jellyfish

Jellyfish stung hundreds of beachgoers in New Smyrna Beach and sent lifeguards scrambling for more white vinegar, a common salve.

Hundreds stung by jellyfish
Every guard had to ask for a vinegar restock," said Beach Patrol Capt. Tony Sopotnick. A 16-year-old girl was taken to Bert Fish Medical Center after she went into anaphylactic shock from a sting; otherwise, no one else was seriously injured by the jellyfish, only irritated.

The blooms - which are confined to the New Smyrna Beach area - were likely blown in by southeasterly winds, Sopotnick said. Lifeguards in Daytona Beach and Flagler reported only a few stings.

But, what are they?

"None are washing up on shore," he said, "which is making it difficult to positively identify them."

Beach Patrol officer Elmer Foit guessed the jellyfish might belong to a group known as sea wasps, one of the most venomous jellyfish in the world. The good news is that the sea wasps found here are likely native to the Atlantic Ocean and not as dangerous as their relatives in Australia where a single jellyfish has enough venom to kill 60 people in three minutes.

Sopotnick said the Beach Patrol would contact researchers this week to definitively identify the jellyfish.

People who do get stung should not rub fresh water on the wound because it will reactivate the toxic poisons, Foit said.

Instead, you can take Benadryl or rub cortisone cream on the infected area to soothe the irritation. Or, as patrol officers are resorting to - get bathed in white vinegar.

"It's a little bit like a bee sting," Foit said. "And, for the most part, they're harmless. But they are painful and will leave an itch."

They also leave red welts on the skin. He did say that the majority of swimmers in the ocean did not get stung Saturday.

"We might have had 5,000 bathers " he said, "Only 300 to 400 were stung."

Swimmers Sunday should look for purple flags flying from lifeguard stands, which indicate jellyfish are still invading. Last weekend, they floated away as fast as they came, leaving the area by Sunday.

"It's unusual to have hundreds of stings in New Smyrna and very few on the Daytona side," Sopotnick said. "We will have to see what tomorrow brings.

Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 10:33
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