KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) — Some people vacationing in the Outer Banks this weekend had to take a break from the water because so many jellyfish were coming so close to shore.
Dozens of stings were reported to lifeguards in Kill Devil Hills, but thankfully none were bad enough to call 911.
Purple flags were flying in the Kill Devil Hills area this weekend because thousands of jellyfish were concentrated so close to shore, lifeguards said.
Lifeguards also said they were dealing with dozens of stings, especially among kids.
“We had a lot of crying kids on the beach this weekend, unfortunately,” Kill Devil Hills Lifeguard Brayleigh Jones said.
Jones was on duty this weekend when dozens of kids came up to her stand, and others, with jellyfish stings.
“It’s just like an annoying kind of burning pain,” Jones said. “What we’ve been telling people is to kind of rinse it off with sea water or rub sand on it or take a credit card and wipe the tentacles off because that can cause the sting to last longer.”
Several areas of the Outer Banks, such as Emerald Isle, Nags Head and the Avalon Pier, saw a big influx of jellyfish this weekend.
Randee Banks has lived in the area for 45 years and visits the Avalon Pier a lot. He said the water was blanketed with jellyfish this weekend.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the most I’ve ever seen, but it’s right up there with them,” Banks said. “The people that were in the water, you could see them swatting at the jellyfish.”
Some visiting the beach said the jellyfish prevented them from getting in the water this weekend.
“I’ve never been stung and I don’t really plan on being stung at all,” Kayleigh Intellini said. “I feel like everybody just kind of avoided getting in. I think they kind of ran up there to see it and then they realized there were so many in there and then they just didn’t really get in.”
Others took a risk to get the most out of their vacation.
“Only my feet were in the water and if I saw them, I could just step out,” beach-goer Amy Raspa said.
Lifeguards said it’s normal to see jellyfish in August, but thankfully, it was only a few days of bad conditions this year.
“There are still a few sea nettles out there, but they aren’t nearly as bad as Friday and Saturday,” Kill Devil Hills Assistant Ocean Rescue Supervisor, Ben Battaile said.
He said they do have a water and vinegar solution to use if people get stung.
“The majority of the time, it’s very mild, so the best thing to do is kind of wash off the affected area, or apply a vinegar and water solution, maybe some warm water,” Battaile said. “If it continues to irritate longer than 15-20 minutes, you’re going to want to use hydrocortisone cream on the area or an antihistamine.”
Dare County EMS said it didn’t get any 911 calls about stings this past weekend, but they are warning people to be on the lookout if they do get in the water.
“Everyone is going to have a different reaction to those types of stings, similar to a bee sting,” Battaile said. “Some people have a very mild reaction and for others, it might be life-threatening.”