Beachgoers are being warned to be vigilant following an influx of jellyfish along Southend seafront.

Police issued a warning to residents and visitors yesterday amid reports of several people being stung between Thorpe Bay and Leigh.

It is thought hundreds of white and purple jellyfish are in the water at present and experts are urging people going to the seafront to be cautious.

A spokesman for Southend BeachCare said: “There are lots of jellyfish on the beach.

“Do not touch them or collect them.

“We are lucky to have abundant marine life, so please respect them leave them alone and if stung seek medical attention when necessary."

The NHS website says most jellyfish stings are not serious and can be treated with first aid.

Alternatively, it advises people to do the following:

• rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water)

• remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card

• soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you cannot soak it

• take painkillers

Experts say people should not treat any stings or wounds with vinegar or urine, and also advise against using ice.

Spines should not be removed with bare hands.

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The main symptoms of sea creature stings are intense pain where and an itchy rash.

Anyone suffering severe pain for a prolonged period of time, or has been stung on the genitals or face is advised to attend a minor medical unit.

However, there are other extreme symptoms which occur in rare circumstances which the NHS urges people to contact 999 for.

These include:

• difficulty breathing

• chest pain

• fits or seizures

• severe swelling around the affected area

• severe bleeding

• vomiting

• lightheadedness or loss of consciousness

In a post on Facebook, police in Southend called on visitors to the seafront to be cautious.

They said: “People should be careful about the jellyfish in the water and on the beach.

“The jellyfish grow to approximately 10 to 20 cm and have many stinging tentacles.”