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Jellyfish

Beaulieu

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Jellyfish

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Jellyfish
pelagia noctiluca

Jellyfish net in Beaulieu-sur-Mer
Jellyfish net in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

There are no sharks along the Cote d'Azur but there are jellyfish (meduses). By far the most common variety is the pelagia noctiluca which arrive unpredictably, often in swarms. Why? It's a mystery but seems to be a combination of water temperature, currents and winds. You may be able to see them singly or in a swarm just beyond the water line but not always. They drift close to the surface and their violet color makes them easy to spot if you wear a mask while swimming. Although not fatal except for rare allergic reactions, a jellyfish sting can be quite painful and the scars can last for months.

I recommend a stop at the pharmacy to pick up a small, inexpensive vial of antidote before heading to the beach. Keep it with you for peace of mind and you'll be prepared in the unhappy event of a jellyfish infestation.

Protection from Jellyfish Stings

Avoiding the water completely is foolproof. If no one is in the water on a hot day, jellyfish are usually the reason. Scrutinize the water. Jellyfish float close to the surface and are easily visible. Ask others on the beach or a lifeguard if one is handy. Local pharmacies sell a product called Medusyl which has been found to prevent jellyfish stings by preventing the tentacle from binding. It also works as a sunscreen. Wearing a wet suit or any other covering is also effective as only bare skin is subject to the stinging tentacles.

What to Do if Stung by a Jellyfish

Although not mortal, a jellyfish sting can be quite painful. If you're stung, it's best to head to the nearest lifeguard/firstaid station as the lifeguards are equipped with an antidote. Even lifeguards on private beaches will give you a healing cream whether or not you are a client of the beach.

Do NOT try to wash off the sting in fresh water which will only worsen it. A more effective on-the-spot treatment is to soak the area in salt water and then rub with gravel to remove the stingers. Immersing the area in water as hot as you can stand is also effective. If you happen to have tweezers you can try removing the stingers with them. Contrary to myth, urinating on the sting is useless.

How to Avoid Jellyfish

Cros-du-Pins beach with jellyfish net
Jellyfish protection at Cros-du-Pins beach

Yes, you can swim and completely avoid jellyfish if you swim where anti-jellyfish nets (filets anti-meduses) protect the swimming area. In Nice such nets are impractical but here are the beaches with anti-jellyfish nets in place at least in July and August:

Monaco
Larvotto Beach

Cannes
Gazagnaire, Macé and Plages du Midi

Beaulieu-sur-Mer
Petite-Afrique
Baie des Fourmis

St Jean Cap Ferrat
Cros du Pins

Cap d'Ail
Plage Mala
Plage Marquet

Villefranche-sur-Mer
Plage Marinieres

Meanwhile, you can track the location of jellyfish swarms here on a map which is updated daily.

 

 

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