Popular beach resorts around the world are seeing huge increases in jellyfish activity. The French and Spanish Rivieras, Chesapeake Bay, the Great Barrier Reef, and Hawaii;some of the numbers are staggering. In Hawaii there have been times that 800 or 1,000 people have been stung in a day. In Spain or Florida, it’s not uncommon in recent years for a half a million people to be stung during an outbreak. Actually, experts have been reporting a steady increase in the number of jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea for years.
The explosion in jellyfish populations is a visible indicator that life in the oceans is out of balance. Global warming and global overfishing (which removes jellyfish predators) is considered the main causes for exploding jellyfish populations in recent years. However, there’s no one single factor to blame for the rise in jellyfish populations, but a combination of overfishing, warming water, low oxygen and pollution.
More and more, places around the world that are suffering from jellyfish problems with tourists are developing prediction systems so that tourists can know when it is safe.
So what do you do when you’re stung? Although popular, peeing on a jellyfish sting isn’t a good idea. Urine can actually aggravate the jellyfish’s stingers into releasing more venom. Many doctors say if stung in tropical waters, one should rinse the area with vinegar to deactivate any nematocysts — the parts of the stinger — that are still hanging on. In North America, doctors recommend using hot water and topical pain killers on a sting.