Brevard County Ocean Rescue Assistant Chief Eisen Witcher says legions of jellyfish called mauve stingers washed ashore from the Atlantic, primarily around Cocoa Beach.
Witcher says more than 200 people suffered sings to their legs, arms and torsos on Saturday. More than 200 more people suffered similar stings Sunday. No major health problems were reported. Still, a lot of people said they chose to pack it up and take their families elsewhere.
"We're going to a pool, where there's no jellyfish," said Frank Cortez, a beach visitor.
The reddish-colored jellyfish have purple barbs that sting. Lifeguards offered victims sprays of vinegar to neutralize the stinging cells. Witcher recommended that swimmers apply Benadryl to itching or painful welts.
The vinegar neutralizes the jellyfish sting, which is much like the sting of a bee, but the jellyfish aren't the only dangers in the water.
Moderate rip currents and waves as high as six feet have been reported by officials. On Sunday, rescue crews had to pull a swimmer in trouble out of the water north of the Inlet. Connor Cosmas, a beach visitor was one of the few who braved the choppy waters.
Melissa Smith said people should stay home and avoid the beach.
"Don't come to Cocoa Beach, stay at your pool," said Smith.
County officials said Monday that they believe consistent east winds and a east swell are causing the jellyfish to wash up.