What to do if you're stung by a jellyfish at the beach

A growing number of jellyfish stings and sightings have been reported in June

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Beachgoers may notice more frequent sightings of jellyfish in Northeast Florida, particularly in St. Johns County, as warmer temperatures outside boost temperatures in the water.

An increasing number of sightings and stings have been reported in recent weeks at St. Augustine Beach, Crescent Beach, Ponte Vedra Beach and Vilano Beach, where the victims are often children.

As a result of the growing number of sightings and stingings, purple flags have been a common sight at those beaches, indicating marine life has been spotted near the shore.

It's not just our beaches either. Medical professionals in Volusia County have treated more than 2,400 people stung by jellyfish over the past couple weeks, according to Orlando's WKMG-TV.

As you might imagine, jellyfish stings are known to be painful, in some cases even life-threatening. But don't fret; they can be treated using the tips provided below.

After You've Been Stung

The first thing to do if you've been stung is get out of the water. Think one jellyfish sting is bad? Try two. You can avoid becoming a repeat victim by steering clear of them once you know they're around.

Next, try to stop the stinging sensation by rinsing the area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds, according to WebMD. Experts suggest using tweezers to try to remove any lingering tentacles.

Once the tentacles are out, soak the area in hot water, ranging from 104 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, the website recommends. Otherwise, soak the stung area with a hot shower.

The website mentions that these treatment methods are based on research done in the Indo-Pacific areas, so they aren't guaranteed to work for all stings.

After Initial Treatment

Stings can cause you to itch after the pain subsides. WebMD recommends using a mild hydrocortisone cream or antihistamine to bring some temporary relief.

Ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers or antihistamines can be used to treat the welts that may appear after a sting.

Experts also recommend cleaning open sores three times daily and applying antibiotic ointment. If necessary, you can use bandages to cover the wound.

The tips listed above should bring some relief after a sting, but there are situations where sting victims may want to seek more treatment.

According to WebMD, you should seek medical help if there are signs of a severe allergic reaction. Redness and itchiness are common, but continue to monitor the area and victim’s behavior.

The website also recommends calling 911 if the sting is from a box jellyfish, or if it covers more than half of the victim’s arm or leg.

For more information on how to treat jellyfish stings or what to look for after they take place, click here.