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A Stinging Affair

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Red flags are flying from lifeguard stations on Israel’s beaches warning of invasion by sea. The enemy is the jellyfish, a tentacled, nearly transparent, free-floating marine creature whose sting is painful but rarely fatal.

Doctors have advised bathers, if stung, to wash their wounds immediately with fresh water, alcohol or ammonia to reduce the burning sensation which lasts for hours. The red flags indicate that jellyfish are present in or near the surf.

The variety attacking Israel is known as the Medusa and marine biologists are at a loss to explain why their numbers are so much greater this year than in the past. They can only hope the Medusas will soon return to their usual habitat, on the ocean bed far from shore.

Warnings were published in the American press this week of abnormal numbers of jellyfish near the beaches of the northeastern states.

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