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Jellyfish numbers start to dwindle on the beaches of the Costa del Sol

A specimen of 'rhizostoma luteum' spotted by bathers on Malaga's El Palo beach.
A specimen of 'rhizostoma luteum' spotted by bathers on Malaga's El Palo beach. / PIQUI SÁNCHEZ
  • The invertebrates have been carried by the currents away from the eastern strip of the coast and are advancing through the western end of the province on their route towards the Strait of Gibraltar

Bathers can begin to breathe a sign of relief as the number of jellyfish on the Costa del Sol starts to dwindle. The presence of these invertebrates has started to subside on the coast after a 'complicated' week when lifeguards were forced to raise flags on the beaches warning of the danger.

Being carried away by currents, the jellyfish continue on their route towards the Strait of Gibraltar, so that on the eastern strip of the coast only thinly scattered specimens are expected to be found while on the western coast the highest concentrations have already left behind the beaches of Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Mijas, while continuing through those of Marbella, Estepona and Manilva before entering the Cádiz coastal waters.

“The situation is calmer on the eastern and central coasts, but a bit more complicated still between Marbella and Manilva", explains the Aula del Mar biologist, Jesús Bellido.

Although the 'pelagia noctiluca', which are the small reddish-pink specimens that predominate on the Malaga coast, and are the ones that cause the most stinging incidents, the most striking jellyfish in recent days have been the specimens of 'rhizostoma luteum', also known as aguamalas that can reach 90 centimetres in diameter. However, their sting is less severe and, being so large and slow, you can see them coming and avoid them.

What to do in case of a sting

1. Do not scratch or rub the affected area, not even with a towel or sand.

2. Wash the affected area with sea water, never with fresh water.

3. Do not apply ammonia, vinegar or urine.

4 . Remove the remains of stinging barbs with a plastic card or something similar. If done by hand, it must be protected.

5. To relieve pain it is recommended to apply cold, for about 15 minutes, without rubbing. If using ice, it is advisable to cover it with a plastic bag or a cloth to avoid direct contact with the skin.

6. Disinfect the wound two or three times a day for 48 or 72 hours. If there is an open wound, protect it with antihistamine ointments until it heals to avoid infection.

7. Children, the elderly or those with any type of allergy may need special attention.

8. In case of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps or general malaise, go to the nearest hospital and inform them, if possible, the species of jellyfish.