Mass jellyfish stinging less common on Florida's west coast - WFLA News Channel 8

Mass jellyfish stinging less common on Florida's west coast

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It was a pretty painful weekend for some people along Florida's coastline. More than 200 had to be treated because of jellyfish stings.

"You just sit there trying to rub it off and it won't come off," said swimmer Stan West. "It just stings even more."

Strong winds pushing along the Volusia County coastline, around Daytona Beach, meant moon jellyfish were closer to shore than normal.

"Jellyfish go wherever the current takes them so they can't necessarily choose necessarily where they drift," said Steve Bitter, a Senior Biologist at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. "We do see more aggressive winds during hurricane season."

Bitter said Bay Area beaches will see moon jelly fish every once in a while, but rarely in that large of quantity.

"We do see them occasionally. We've actually seen fewer incidents of those in Tampa Bay proper because the water quality has gotten much, much better over the last few decades," he said.

Cleaner Tampa Bay water means fewer pieces of plankton to gnaw on.

"As the ecosystem's gotten healthier, there are fewer things for those jellies to eat and the numbers have dropped," he said.

Swimmers and divers here are more likely to encounter comb jellyfish.

"Comb jellies don't sting at all," Bitter said.

If you do get stung, here are some tips from Bitter about how to cut the pain faster:

-vinegar can neutralize the stinging cells in the jelly slime

-simply just wash it off with warm water or sea water to get the slime off

-wear protective clothing like a long sleeve rash guard or a wet suit if diving

-but know that slime has a tendency to stick to that clothing as well so avoid getting skin contact after you remove that protective clothing.

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