Beware: Moon jellyfish invading Volusia County beaches

Officials: More than 600 people suffer jellyfish stings over weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Officials are warning beachgoers to beware of the Moon jellyfish that's invading Volusia County waters.

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue said more than 600 people were stung by jellyfish over the weekend, and that number is expected to grow.

Ben Floryance, 6, showing off a red spot on his leg, said it hurt when he was stung.

"I was trying to swim, and then someone just bite me," Floryance said.

Ben's father, Jason, was standing right next to him when it happened.

"I kind of thought that's what it was because just the way it looked. It was red and looked a little stringy," Jason Floryance said.

Some beachgoers were shocked to hear about all the jellyfish, and some went as far as deciding to stay clear of the water all together.

Kim Witcher said she wouldn't allow her grandson to get back into the water.

"I don't want him to be in it now. It would maybe traumatize him to where he don't want to come back, and I want him to come back every year with me," Witcher said.

Beach Safety Patrol said there's no certain time of year that the jellyfish are more common. It has to do with the conditions of the water.

"They're at the mercy of the wind and the current," Cpt. Tammy Malphurs said. "We have a large amount of people in the water due to the weather, great surf conditions, so I think it's just the perfect storm right now." 

Malphurs even showed News 6 her jellyfish stings.

"I was doing my daily drill out there and I got stung a couple times. Minor sting, not bad, just irritating," she said.

A purple flag waved in the wind lets beachgoers know jellyfish are in the water.

Malphurs said if someone gets stung by a jellyfish, they need to immediately approach a lifeguard tower.

"It's pretty simple, actually. We just put white vinegar on it, and hopefully, the sting will subside after a few minutes," she said.

The Floryance family did that and said they already plan to hit the waves again.

Medical experts also have specific steps to follow when treating jellyfish stings. Click here to read them.

At last check, 180 people had been stung in Volusia County Monday, officials said. Beach safety rescue crews emphasized that beachgoers should expect to see the purple flag flying over the next couple days.

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