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Purple Flags are Flying. It’s “Jellyfish Season” in South Florida.

Posted by Jody on August 17, 2011

Purple warning flags are flying  from the Treasure Coast to the Florida Keys. It’s the unofficial start of “jellyfish season” in South Florida.

“Lifeguards stationed on beaches from the Treasure Coast to the Keys have been waving purple flags since Saturday, a warning to beachgoers about the bubbly purplish creatures that can ruin a day in the sun with their toxic tentacles” according to a story by Kathy Laskowsi and Ihosvani Rodriguez at MiamiHerald.com. Lifeguards in Deerfield Beach reportedly treated an average of 300 – 400 jellyfish stings per day over the weekend.  At Hollywood beach the numbers of moon jellyfish appear to be way up over recent years.

Adult Moon Jelly, Aurelia aurita (Photo by Dante Alighieri, from Wikimedia Commons)

These tips for the treatment of a jellyfish sting are taken from the Brevard County (Florida) Fire Rescue/Ocean Lifeguard Swim Safety website page:

“Rinse the wound with sea water. DO NOT use fresh water.
Deactivate the remaining cells with vinegar over a 30 minute period.
Remove any remaining tentacles with forceps or a gloved hand. DO NOT rub the area. Anticipate anaphylactic reactions, call 911 if necessary.”

For your safety: It’s important to follow all lifeguard directions and heed warning flags.  Beach warning flags fly from lifeguard towers and at other points on the beach. The purple flag flying at Florida beaches indicates that “Dangerous Marine Life” is present in the water. This color flag is flown to indicate the presence of sharks, jellyfish or sting rays. Remember, the absence of flags does not necessarily indicate or assure safe water conditions.

Pay attention when purple flags are flying on Florida’s beaches! & Have a safe day at the beach! -J-

UPDATE: 11/272011 Can Jellyfish Mean Good News? Sea Turtle Update.

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