JELLYFISH have arrived in massive numbers with the arrival of summer weather and are already causing major problems for swimmers, especially along the Mediterranean coast.
The purple stinging jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca can cause a very itchy, burning sting from its trailing tentacles and can cause real distress for children and adults.
At the moment they are causing particular problems along the coast from Marseille to Nice but they are also seen off bathing beaches on the Atlantic coast.
The jellyfish are brought to the coast by northern currents on the Mediterranean and warm water helps them reproduce. Pollution, plus over-fishing of the traditional predators of tuna and sea turtles, have helped jellyfish numbers to increase over the past few years.
• If stung, the main danger is from drowning as the swimmer panics and people should get out of the water quickly. Rinse the affected area with seawater – never freshwater as this sets off the stinging cells anew – and do not rub with sand as often suggested as this will set off the stinging cells.
• If there is still a portion of tentacle on the skin, pull it off with a gloved hand then gently scrape the skin with the flat of a knife or a bank card to get rid of the stinging cells.
• Finally, pour warm water over the wound as this eases the pain – but take care not to scald as the skin has been desensitised by the sting. Finally, take an anti-inflammatory.