Countless masses of jellyfish waded onto central Florida beaches over Memorial Day weekend, stinging over 400 visitors and hospitalizing at least two, according to Brevard County Ocean Rescue officials.
Assistant Lifeguard Chief Eisen Witcher said that the sheer amount of people on the beaches, which were unusually crowded because of the holiday, was partially responsible for the shockingly high number of stings. The weather conditions also played a role.
"This time of year, this can happen when the conditions are perfect for jellyfish to wash up," he said. "You have an onshore breeze combined with an east swell."
According to CNN, two people who were stung were hospitalized and treated for respiratory distress, although it was "unclear whether the distress was caused by the sting or came from a pre-existing medical condition."
Lifeguards and beach patrollers from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral were armed with vinegar-filled spray cans, used to neutralize the jellyfish stings.
"We have that solution there at all times, but we knew that we were going to have a lot of people out here this weekend," Witcher said. "These jellyfish are not a major threat, but they are annoying."