Purple flags flying at the beach

Purple flags are flying at some Panama City Beach beaches. It means there is stinging marine life in the water. (WJHG/WECP)
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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Many visiting our beaches don't know what the purple flag means.

"We didn't really know all the flag meanings but I've been in Florida a lot of times and I've never been too worried about jellyfish," said an area visitor, Adrian Thodoropoulos.

If you see a purple flag flying in Panama City Beach, there likely is stinging marine life in the water.

"It is for hazardous marine life, primarily anytime you see the purple flag up it is gonna be due to jellyfish," said Bay County Lifeguard Mike Winterman.

But that doesn't mean you're guaranteed to leave the beach with a sting, and it's not unusual for this time of year, according to local lifeguards.

Scott Robinson with St. Andrews State Park, says he believes the jellyfish should be on their way out soon.

"We have an offshore breeze right now, so it's pushing them out to sea," said Robinson.

"It just depends on a lot of the currents and the winds will push them in and push them out," said Winterman.

Lifeguards say if you are stung by a jellyfish it's best to go over the affected area with something like a credit card and try to scrape some of the residue off, and then jump back into the salty water.

"Maybe do that process two or three more times," said Winterman.

Winterman says there are some other rumors about how to relieve a jellyfish sting, but there's no evidence behind them.

"So we don't recommend anybody using... peeing on it, or meat tenderizer, vinegar," said Winterman.

Even with the extra sealife floating around, it's not stopping people from enjoying the beaches.

"We'll be back this afternoon," said Thodoropoulos.

If you do have a serious sting Robinson says you should seek medical attention.

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