Jellyfish invasion! Beaches in North Goa feel the sting

‘Squishy terror’ isn’t a phrase you hear often, but it may just be the perfect way to describe what’s happening in Goa right now.

Since last week, swarms of jellyfish have floated in from the deep sea into Goa’s coast, spelling trouble for holiday goers and locals alike. Over 90 cases of stings have been recorded by Drishti, a private lifeguard agency hired by the state government, and the number may rise if people aren’t careful.

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Reports of these accidents are coming in from the Baga, Calangute, Candolim and Sinquerim beaches. Overall, North Goa’s coastline is bearing the brunt of this ‘invasion’. It checks out—this region gets more visitors due to its nightlife and colourful markets. The South Goa district is beautiful, but isn’t instant tourist fodder, which means there’s a lower chance of revellers jumping in for a swim. 

“A lot of people are coming here to ‘work from home’, so the reported cases are increasing day by day,” says Pranav S. Krishnan, a media professional who is visiting North Goa at this time. 

“From what people say, the ‘bite’ feels like a mild electric shock that persists for a while. The Morjim-Arambol belt has a lot of cases. While getting into the waters the last few days, I was scared that something might happen, but people told me these translucent, small creatures hardly leave a mark.”

Yikes, you got stung! What happens now?

Usually, nothing too crazy. You’ll likely experience redness, itching and throbbing pain. Some folks may undergo an allergic reaction. But in certain cases, if left untreated, the venom from some species of jellyfish is toxic enough to cause muscle spasms, breathing difficulties and heart problems.

Drishti lifeguards have treated the wounds from this swarm with simple first-aid. If you’re stung and can’t find one, locals suggest making a beeline for beach shacks to grab vinegar. Pour it onto where you got stung, and it should help diffuse the venom.

Worried that this swarm is an end-of-the-world ambush? Don’t be. It’s just a seasonal ritual that has been heightened by global warming. 

To make sure your vacay vibes aren’t replaced by panic, Goa Tourism has shared an advisory for anyone planning to swim, parasail, or just dip their feet into the warm waters: