Why Are Jellyfish Stinging so Many People in Florida? More than 1,000 Humans Stung This Week

If you’re planning to go to a beach on the central coast of Florida this summer, you may want to watch out for jellyfish. According to ABC, jellyfish have already stung 1,200 people in Volusia County, Florida over the course of a week.

This isn’t a record turnout for jellyfish or their stings, as they invade Florida beaches multiple times per year. However, this is a surprisingly high number of stings for such a short period of time. A public information officer for the Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue told ABC that the increase in stings likely has to do with an increase in people coming to the beach. The wind and currents also bring jellyfish closer to the shore every once in a while.

Jellyfish A jellyfish swims off the coast of Protaras on the south east coast of Cyprus on March 25, 2017. EMILY IRVING-SWIFT/AFP/Getty Images

In general, though, jellyfish are on the rise along American beaches, according to Fox News. "Jellyfish blooms" can become more frequent in the presence of pollution from agriculture, commercial fishing, and the creation of artificial reefs. As climate change warms the seas, higher temperatures can help jellyfish to reproduce faster, and their mating season lasts longer. Overfishing also helps jellyfish because it harms the predators that keep jellyfish populations at bay, according to Columbia's Earth Institute.

Jellyfish have no eyes and don't intend to gang up on humans and sting them. It's simply the fact that there are more jellyfish and more people in the water lately that makes encounters more likely.

When a jellyfish stings you, you should wash the area with vinegar, which most lifeguards should have on hand. Then, pull out the stingers with tweezers and soak in hot, but not boiling water.

According to the Mayo Clinic, many rumored treatments for jellyfish stings do more harm than good. There’s no reason to apply alcohol, ethanol, ammonia, pressure bandages, or human urine for example.

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