Purple flags at the beach, how to properly treat a jellyfish sting

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) — The beaches are already crowded as many people are flocking to the coast for Memorial Day Weekend. Purple flags are flying with jellyfish getting close to the shoreline.
The first thing you want to do when you go to the beach is to check to see what flags are flying.

Today, we had a yellow flag with a moderate risk for rip currents and expect that risk to persist throughout Memorial Day Weekend. Purple flags are also flying which indicate that jellyfish also crowded the coast this Memorial Day Weekend.

News 5 Meteorologist Colleen Peterson spoke with Fire Chief Battalion, Melvin Shepherd, about what steps to take if stung.

“When you do go in the Gulf, if you start few a stinging sensation you want to wash the infected the area with salt water initially,” Melvin said.
“Take a drivers license or credit card and try to scrape in a downward motion to try and get any remaining stinging cells”

Many initially think to put fresh water over the infected area.

“It will cause the remaining nematocysts  to fire and the sting will intensify,” Melvin said.

Rubbing sand in the wound is not the thing to do also.

“Not to rub wet sand just for the fact as it’s like taking sandpaper so you may actually grind some of the stinging cells into your skin,” Melvin said.

I then asked if the myth of using urine to calm the sting holds true.  

“They say that because of the ammonia in it. We are asking people don’t do that either… you are in a public place.”

When you first venture into the water start by assessing your swimming abilities- If it’s too rough don’t go out far. Also make sure to steer clear of jellyfish!


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