Jellyfish stings on hundreds of Florida beachgoers, coming from thousands of jellyfish inundating Florida coastlines, are leaving swimmers with painful red marks. This past weekend, over 400 Florida beachgoers were stung by jellyfish. None were seriously injured. Lifeguards – who keep vinegar in the towers to treat jellyfish stings – said the massive swarms are actually nothing new.
According to Volusia County Beach Safety Captain Tammy Marris, beaches see this size swarm of jellyfish – technically called a smack – about ten to twelve times per summer.
“Jellyfish and anything in the water are at the mercy of the current and the winds,” Marris said, adding that beach officials have been raising the warning flags due to increased counts of the gelatinous umbrella-shaped marine animals.
Earlier this week, officials said the sightings had been drastically reduced, as ocean currents carried the jellyfish back out to deeper waters.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, 149 stings were recorded Sunday at Volusia County beach, with most of the stings happening in the New Smyrna Beach area. On Saturday, 257 stings were reported to lifeguards, who also performed 14 ocean rescues after individuals had been stung.
Jellyfish use millions of tiny nematocysts stinging cells located in their tentacles to inject toxin and incapacitate their prey. While painful to humans, most jellyfish stings are not serious.
According to Scientific American, saltwater can be used to wash the area – not freshwater which will make the stinging worse – as well as vinegar.
Now the question: To pee or not to pee?
Urinating on yourself is a “worthless treatment," says the Scientific American.
Writes LiveScience: "What's worse than the searing pain of getting stung by a jellyfish? The searing pain of getting stung by a jellyfish, plus getting urinated on in a failed attempt to alleviate said pain. No: urine isn't an effective sting ointment. In fact, it can make matters worse."