Increased jellyfish, sea lice activity expected this week at area beaches


NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It’s the busiest week of the year at our area beaches and many just want to have some carefree fun to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

While you’re having that fun in the water, it’s important to remember what could be lurking just beneath the surface.

Agencies like Carolina Beach Ocean Rescue and the National Weather Service are expecting increased jellyfish activity this week.

“Anytime you see jellyfish in the ocean, it’s best to just get out of the water. You don’t know where they’re gonna go. Like I said, if they have really long tentacles, those tentacles can break and the stinging cells are all along the tentacles so those stinging cells can be anywhere in the water column,” NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher associate director Brian Dorn said.

Exposure to thimble jellyfish larvae, or sea lice, can cause a rash, which can be treated with warm water and hydrocortisone cream.

A sting from an Atlantic sea nettle or Portuguese Man O’ War can have more serious consequences.

Lifeguards like Kure Beach’s JD Lanier are on-hand to provide assistance.

“Flag one of us down, come to the lifeguard stand, find someone on a four wheeler, anything like that,” Lanier said. “We’ve got jellyfish spray, which is essentially just vinegar, and then we give you the direction to go for either Man O’ War or stingrays also.”

The common theme with the beachgoers WWAY spoke to was a lack of concern about the jellyfish because it’s just part of going to the beach during the summertime.

“I don’t worry about it because we’ve been going to the beach every year as long as I can remember. We’re cognizant of what’s going on, we keep a watch out, but I can’t remember ever having any problems with jellyfish,” Carolina Beach visitor Terri Burford said.

Lanier says Kure Beach lifeguards typically treat a handful of jellyfish stings per week during the summer. He says there haven’t been many so far this season, but with the increased activity this week, the lifeguards will keep an eye out.

Categories: Local, New Hanover