Florida lifeguards treat more than 600 people for jellyfish stings in two days

Author: CBS/AP
Photo via MGN

Lifeguards along a stretch of central Florida beaches treated more than 600 people for jellyfish stings over the weekend. Lifeguards treated 523 people on Sunday while 107 beachgoers were treated for jellyfish stings on Saturday.

Purple flags were flying along the beaches on Sunday, indicating the presence of dangerous marine life, Volusia County Beach Safety spokeswoman Liz Driskell told news outlets.

Lifeguards also pulled seven people from rough surf along the Atlantic beaches. A yellow flag indicating rough surf was also flying.

First-aid care

The Mayo Clinic offers the following steps to treat a jellyfish sting:

  • Rinse the area with vinegar.
  • Carefully pluck visible tentacles with a fine tweezers.
  • Soak the skin in hot water. Use water that’s 110 to 113 F (43 to 45 C). If a thermometer isn’t available, test the water on an uninjured person’s hand or elbow — it should feel hot, not scalding. Keep the affected skin immersed or in a hot shower for 20 to 45 minutes.

Steps to avoid

The Mayo Clinic says the following actions are unhelpful or unproved:

  • Scraping out stingers.
  • Rinsing with seawater.
  • Rinsing with human urine.
  • Rinsing with fresh water.
  • Applying meat tenderizer.
  • Applying alcohol, ethanol or ammonia.
  • Rubbing with a towel.
  • Applying pressure bandages.

Medical treatment

  • Emergency care. Someone having a severe reaction to a jellyfish sting may need cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), life support or, if the sting is from a box jellyfish, antivenin medication.
  • Oral medicine. A rash or other skin reaction due to delayed hypersensitivity may be treated with oral antihistamines or corticosteroids. You may also be given oral pain medicine.
  • Eye flushing. A jellyfish sting occurring on or near an eye requires immediate medical care for pain control and a good eye flushing. You will likely be seen by a doctor specializing in eye care (ophthalmologist).

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