HOUSTON (CW39) – Although it may seem unusual to see a purple flag at the beach, jellyfish and man-o-war are typically common in late summer along the Texas coast. Perhaps the warm water temps are marching them in a little earlier. If jellyfish are numerous, beach patrol will fly a purple flag in addition to the red, yellow, or green condition flags on the back of the lifeguard towers, at strategic locations on the seawall, and at the entrances to the beach parks.
The World Health Organization and the International Lifesaving Federation recommend saline for treating a jellyfish sting. If you don’t have saline use seawater. If there are tentacles still on the skin, you should first douse the area with the saline, then remove the tentacles using a glove or cloth so as not to get stung again. Rinse the area completely to make sure all the ‘nematocysts’ are gone.
The sting is just on the surface of the skin so an allergic reaction is very rare. However, people that get stung may get abdominal cramps or feel panicky. Generally, this is a pretty normal reaction to any pain when the person doesn’t know how bad it’s going to get.
REMEMBER: Jellyfish can still sting you after they’ve been washed up on the beach for some time. Some like to pop washed up jellyfish with sticks. Sometimes the jellyfish ‘juice’ squirts up getting into your eye! OUCH!