Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Cocoa Beach Jellyfish Report March 2016

MARCH 15 UPDATE: Jellyfish have left Brevard County beaches due to prevailing westerly winds over the last two days.

COCOA BEACH, Florida - Hundreds of stinging jellyfish have washed up along the beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach, Florida during the second week of March 2016.

Florida Jellyfish Report March 2016

An extended period of southeast winds have been blowing Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish onto beaches all along Florida's east coast just when Spring Break 2016 peaks. Especially in South Florida and Central Florida.

Cocoa Beach Jellyfish Forecast

According to the National Weather Service, the prevailing southeast winds will continue from March 9, 2016 through Saturday, March 13, 2016. So, there will be a strong chance that Portuguese Man-of-War will remain on Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral beaches through at least Sunday.

How To Identify Portuguese Man-of-War

The Portuguese Man-of-War can be identified from other jellyfish in Florida by its translucent blue and purple gas-filled air sac that helps them travel long distances across the ocean by acting as a wind-driven sail (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren't jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae).  

A violet-colored stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to ten or fifteen feet. These stinging, venom-filled tentacles are designed to paralyze small fish but can also deliver a powerful sting to humans who wade into the water or play on the beach.

What To Do If You Are Stung By A Jellyfish In Florida

Safety officials advise that swimmers avoid these marine animals because their sting can be very intense, and may adversely affect sensitive individuals or those with underlying medical conditions with more severe reactions.  Furthermore, officials advise to not touch or disturb any jellyfish even when found on the beach as they may remain potent after dying or drying out in the sun.

In addition to its painful sting, Portuguese Man-of-War can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people. The stinging can be relieved with vinegar, which is often kept at lifeguard stations along Florida's Space Coast.

If you are stung by a jellyfish, the Florida Department of Health advises people to:

1. Leave the water immediately if stung.

2. Call the Florida Poison Information Center Network at 1-800-222-1222 or 911 if you begin to have trouble breathing, feel faint or have chest pain.

3. Don't use lemon juice, garlic, athlete's foot spray, head lice medicine, Epsom salts, bleach, gasoline or other so-called remedies. Call 1-800-222-1222 to get treatment advice.

4.  Don't try to remove spines or tentacles with bare fingers. Use tweezers or the edge of a credit card to “shave” the stingers off.