Avoiding Jellyfish While at the Beach

Like an eggshell in your omelet or a sharp stick in the eye, jellyfish on the beach are definitely something from which you want to steer clear. Depending on the species, jellyfish can sting like a bee or the venom within their perilous tentacles can be overcoming enough to send you to the hospital, into a state of shock or worse.

Most jellyfish in New Smyrna Beach have a mild sting if any at all and are just a nuisance. Purple flags are placed on the beach to warn beachgoers if they happen to come out in numbers, which doesn’t happen very often. A very dangerous and pretty rare jellyfish here is the Portuguese man-of-war. This jellyfish can easily kill a fish and if the attack is severe enough, it can lead to heart and lung problems in humans and possibly even death. The Portuguese man-of-war is usually easy to spot because it is a beautiful blue polyp with a ridge on top. Be careful though because its tentacles, which are not always easily noticed under water, can grow to 165 feet. That is quite a reach!

The burn from most jellyfish stings will subside in minutes, but if you are severely attacked, it can take weeks to recover. If you do get stung, remove the tentacles from your skin as quickly as possible because, as long as they are attached, jellyfish will continue to release venom. Don’t ever treat jellyfish stings with alcohol. It will only make them worse. Some say that applying meat tenderizer, baking soda or calamine lotion will help.

If you see a dead jellyfish washed up on the beach. Believe it or not, they can still sting you. You will be safe if you just remain aware. Watch where you are walking and swimming and you should be just fine.