Purple jellyfish appeared on Falasarna beach in Chania on Monday morning, June 6th.
Vacationers began to “cleanse” the sea from them, to catch them from the water in order to swim freely, without fear of being bitten. But citizens were warned that dangerous marine life should not be collected and buried in the sand! In the end, they pulled out a total of more than ten jellyfish with a children’s bucket, as can be seen in the photos posted on social networks.
Recall that the sting of a purple jellyfish can cause severe pain and problems. Some victims may require medical attention in the event of an allergic reaction.
The purple jellyfish is considered one of the most dangerous species in the Mediterranean. According to the Hellenic Biodiversity Observatory, the outbreak of the purple jellyfish population in the Aegean began in October 2020 and is expected to continue for about 2 more years. newsbreak.gr.
Jellyfish (Pelagia noctiluca) is considered one of the most dangerous species in the Mediterranean. Its bite is very painful due to the neurotoxin contained in the stinging cells. It can be distinguished from other jellyfish by four main and eight longer and thinner tentacles, as well as a purple “cap”. The jellyfish has a diameter of 6-10 cm. When an individual is young, its color is orange-brown, and when it grows up, it acquires an intense purple-violet (speckled) color.
Campers should be very well informed about what to do if they get “burned”.
Remember: vinegar, as well as fresh water, alcohol, ammonia, do NOT help with the bite of this type of jellyfish, but, on the contrary, worsen the condition and pain. This jellyfish inactivated by a slightly alkaline solution (baking soda dissolved in an appropriate amount of sea water) and not by acid.
Most purple jellyfish have been recorded in the Saronic Gulf. According to the iNaturalist map, here are some of the popular beaches in Attica where dangerous marine life was spotted in 2022:
- Kavouri beach
- Vouliagmeni coast
- Glystra beach (Lagonisi)
- Nisaki beach (Lavrio)
- Koroni Beach (Porto Rafti)
- Avlaki Beach (Porto Rafti)
- Vravrona beach
- Argira Akti (Nea Makri).
If you were attacked by a jellyfish. Symptoms:
- Pain, burning.
- Severe redness of the skin.
Also, after being bitten by a purple jellyfish, a person may feel:
- Drop in blood pressure.
- Cough, shortness of breath.
Rare symptoms that require immediate hospitalization of the victim:
- Breathing problems.
- Generalized angioedema – extensive urticaria.
- Shock (slurred speech).
If you are bitten by a purple jellyfish:
- Remove the tentacles stuck to the body. But not with bare hands, because you yourself can suffer from the toxin.
- Rinse the bite site with plenty of sea water. If there is no better way, take a handful of sand and rub the part of the body where the tentacles are stuck. If possible, apply a mixture of sea water and baking soda (1:1) for two minutes to stop further penetration of the poison into the bloodstream from possible remnants of tentacle cells remaining on the skin.
- Do not use fresh water!
- Apply ice or a cold compress to the bite for 5-15 minutes. Ice or even an iced soft drink must be in a package or other wrapper, for example, in a fabric or T-shirt. Check if the pain has subsided and, if necessary, re-apply ice for another 5-15 minutes.
- Apply cortisone cream to the affected area – reduces the local inflammatory reaction and quickly relieves burning and itching.
- Wrap the bite tightly with bandages, DO NOT use vinegar, fresh water, ANY alcohol, not even ammonia.
- Take an antihistamine tablet. The need to take an anti-allergic drug is greater, the more the skin is affected.
Finally, if the symptoms are severe, and especially if they do not improve after first aid, an injection of cortisone may be required. In this case, you you need to go to a medical facility.
Attention! Unlike other types of jellyfish, in this case, the use of vinegar and ammonia, usually used to prevent further penetration of the poison under the skin, is not indicated.
Vinegar, as well as fresh water, alcohol, ammonia, do NOT help with the bite of this type of jellyfish, but, on the contrary, worsen the condition and pain. This jellyfish inactivated by a slightly alkaline solution (baking soda dissolved in an appropriate amount of sea water) and not by acid.
Useful tips from the Hellenic Biodiversity Observatory
Citizens are urged to look at the weather and wind before deciding where to swim. A good website that can help with this is windy.com.
In the presence of plankton on the beach, citizens are advised to avoid swimming, as jellyfish feed on plankton and their tentacles with stinging cells are transparent and can reach 10 meters in length.
If there is a serious problem with purple jellyfish on the beach, then citizens are advised not to risk swimming and always carry an antihistamine cream or cortisone ointment, which can be purchased at any pharmacy.
Citizens should never pull jellyfish out of the water and bury them in the sand because there is a risk that someone will step on a marine life and get chiselled.
Attention! All citizens who see jellyfish are kindly asked to take a photo (even from their mobile phone) and upload it to inaturalist.org (the platform is also supported by ios and android), indicating the type of jellyfish (if you know) and the date when they saw it, as well as exact location.