Florida Coast Jellyfish
Florida Coast Jellyfish live in the marine waters and there is really no way to predict when they will appear. The Jellyfish often wash up in large numbers after several days of onshore winds.
During the spring, summer, and fall seasons is where most people will run into a problem with the Florida Coast Jellyfish. The problem is not as bad during the winter because fewer people venture into the Atlantic or Gulf during the coldest months of the year.
Most reports of the Florida Coast Jellyfish sightings are during the late winter and spring months of February, March and April. The heaviest concentrations of jellyfish usually occur on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Florida Coast and in the Panhandle region on the Gulf coast. There tend to be fewer jellyfish in the lower Gulf Coast peninsula, which runs from the Tampa area and down south to Marco Island.
The five most common Florida Coast Jellyfish:
- Portuguese Man O’ War
- Atlantic Sea Nettle
- Cannonball Jellyfish
- The Moon Jellyfish
The most dangerous of all the Florida Coast Jellyfish is generally the Man-of-War and the By-the-Wind-Sailor . The Man O’ War and By-the-Wind-Sailor are technically not a “true” jellyfish in the sense. Their structures are colonized, where as true jellyfish, have single multi-cellular organisms. Next to the Man O’ Ware and By-the-Wind-Sailor , the Sea Nettle delivers a painful sting. The Less potent stings from the Florida Coast Jellyfish are the Cannonball Jellyfish and the Moon Jellyfish.
One of the best ways to avoid contact with the Florida Coast Jellyfish is to look at the water’s edge to see if dead jellyfish are present on the shoreline. It is recommended that if you see more than one or two dead jellyfish, that you should consider not going in the water or if you feel you must, be mindful and keep your eyes open. If you see Man-O’ War’s or the By-the-Wind-Sailor’s on the beach, do not go in the water.
In the month of June 2018, more than 3,000 people have been stung in Volusia County, Florida. It has been said that it is one of the worst summers for the Florida Coast Jellyfish population. If you see Purple flags on the beach, this is a warning to beach goers that there are dangerous marine life in the waters.
If you are stung by a jellyfish, the University of Florida Health recommends getting immediate medical attention.
According to UF Health, first aid measures include:
- As quickly as possible, rinse the sting site with large amounts of vinegar for at least 30 seconds, which is safe and effective for all types of jellyfish stings. Vinegar immediately stops the thousands of tiny unfired stinging cells left on the surface of the skin after tentacle contact.
- If no vinegar is available, it’s safe to rinse the sting site with ocean water.
- Protect the affected area.
- Do not rub the site with sand, apply pressure or scrape the sting site.
- Soak the area in 107 degrees Fahrenheit to 115 degrees Fahrenheit standard tap hot water, (not scalding) for 20 to 40 minutes.
- After soaking in hot water, apply antihistamine or steroid creams, which can help with pain and itching.
To avoid getting stung, it’s important to heed warning signs such as purple flags posted by local authorities and to wear shoes while walking on the beach. You can also drive them away by shuffling your feet in the water as you walk. Leave the water if you see jellyfish nearby.
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