Meteorologists are “watching” a mini summer rehearsal for these days and many citizens are already doing their first searches for beaches to enjoy the sun and the rise in temperature. However, the most “suspicious” of this year set criteria for choosing a beach that is none other than… purple jellyfish.
The fact that the purple jellyfish have returned to the Greek seas this year much earlier than in 2022 has brought back the “headache” of the previous summer.
Purple jellyfish are considered among the most dangerous jellyfish species in the Mediterranean. Their sting is painful due to the neurotoxin they contain, so bathers must be very well informed about what to do in case of a sting.
For now, purple jellyfish have been observed mainly in the Ionian Sea (Paxos and Corfu) and in some isolated cases on beaches in Attica and in the southern Peloponnese.
Especially in Corfu, the problem seems to be more serious compared to other areas, at least for the moment.
Since purple jellyfish in their final stage of development have a lifespan of up to 9 months, this means that some areas of the Ionian Sea will have to deal with purple jellyfish this summer.
After all, as experts report, the disappearance of purple jellyfish in the second year has never been recorded in the literature, so it is not expected to happen this year either. On the contrary, a big difference is observed in the 3rd and 4th year when they disappear, making them reappear at least 5 years later or in some cases 10 to 12 years later.
The purple jellyfish map
The areas where purple jellyfish have been recorded are marked on the map below.
Purple jellyfish: estimates for summer 2023
As stated in the first JellyReport of this year, by 2023 the North Aegean is expected to be clean, with some isolated occurrences of purple jellyfish, while in areas like Attica and due to last year’s situation, purple jellyfish occurrences They can sometimes be a little more intense. For the Cyclades we may have some isolated occurrences, while for Crete, perhaps on the western side, we may see a bit more, as well as for the southern Peloponnese. As for the Ionian, estimates say that the situation will be at the same levels as in 2022.
Of course, according to the recent JellyReport, everything always depends on the weather and the sea currents.
The compass jellyfish returns
As every year during this period we have to deal with natural outbreaks of compass jellyfish (Chrysaora hysoscella). These outbreaks start from the middle of March and prevail until the middle of May (sometimes until the beginning of June).
They have already started washing up on the beaches. And in the coming weeks, it is estimated that the phenomenon will be more intense on the beaches of Greece.
Symptoms after contact with purple barbel
Nematocysts produce erythema, swelling, burning, and sometimes severe dermocritical, cardio, and neurotoxic effects on human skin, which are particularly dangerous in susceptible individuals.
More specifically, the possible symptoms after the bite of Pelagia noctiluca are the following:
Burning pain, often intense redness of the skin, and in some cases the appearance of a jellyfish mark on part of the skin.
Purple jellyfish sting: What to take to the beach
The Greek Biodiversity Observatory recommends a first aid kit for the beach. As he points out, it’s good to have the following with us at the beach in order to deal with a jellyfish sting:
A plastic card (for example, an old credit card).
A pair of tweezers.
A cup (for example, urine collector).
A little baking soda (1:1 ratio with seawater).
Some cortisone creams like fucicort
Wash carefully with seawater, without rubbing the sting area.
If available, apply a mixture of seawater and baking soda (in a 1:1 ratio) for two minutes to stop any further venom secretion from any tentacle cell debris left on the skin.
We use a plastic bank card or similar (not our hands) to remove the baking soda mixture and any residue from our skin.
Apply ice to the bite for 5 to 15 minutes. Ice, or even a frozen soda, should be in a bag or other covering, such as a cloth or t-shirt.
Check to see if the pain has subsided and if necessary reapply ice for another 5-15 minutes.
If the pain persists, consult a doctor or pharmacist to prescribe pain relievers or anti-inflammatory creams (such as lidocaine 3-4% and hydrocortisone).
MHN wrap the bite well with bandages, DO NOT use vinegar, NOR fresh water, NOR alcohol, NOR ammonia.