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Wind, Current Shift Could Bring Jellyfish to Coast

12:34 PM, May 12, 2011   |    comments
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  • George Paul, Jacksonville Beach Lifeguard

JACKSONVILLE BEACH. Fla. -- While the coast is relatively clear, about a mile offshore, scores of jellyfish have been spotted.

Jacksonville Beach lifeguard George Paul said that there don't appear to be any more jellyfish than normal right now in swimming areas, but since the water is so clear right now, it is easier to see them.

"There are hardly any shrimpers visible from the Red Cross tower because they are aware of their abundance offshore, and it is not worth it to drag their nets and risk losing one," said Paul, a fifteen year veteran of the lifesaving corps.

A handful of cannonball jellyfish could be seen along the water line on Wednesday. One lifeguard told First Coast News there were a few Portugease Man O'War jellyfish seen on Tuesday.

An east wind or a change of currents could send  them to swimming areas.

The cannonball jellyfish seen offshore could only be life threatening for those with allergies to other things, especially, ants and bees. They can cause breathing difficulties and those poeple need emergency treatment .

In general, a cannonball jellyfish sting is not as painful as a man o' war jellyfish whose stings can scar. 

Paul says "To enjoy nature, take a look at them, but then leave it alone and don't pick it up, because that is when you can be stung."

Paul recommends that swimmers stay near a lifeguard station, so that if they are stung they can get first aid faster. Vinegar water is used to ease the pain.

Lifeguards will fly a purple flag if the jellyfish are especially thick in the water, he said. 

While this year, Paul said he has not noticed many on the shore, about five years ago there were so many, a front-end loader was needed to bury them or to haul them away.

First Coast News

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