Be careful in and around the water at local beaches, some are reporting Portuguese Man O’ War sightings.
These jellyfish are brightly colored—most commonly blue, but can also be pink or purple—and they’re toxic; thankfully they’re rarely deadly to humans.
“There’s no real season, they’re pretty much at the mercy of the wind and currents so they just show up here periodically,” said Volusia Beach Safety Deputy Chief Tammy Malphurs.
While allergic reactions to Man O’ War stings are somewhat rare, they’re still something to avoid as a Man O’ War sting can really pack a punch. If you’re stung by a Man O’ War, Malphurs says you should go to one of the beach’s many staffed lifeguard towers and ask for help. Lifeguards carry vinegar with them, which is commonly used to treat jellyfish stings. It’s also recommended that you remove any tentacles.
It’s also unsafe to touch a Man O’ War, even if it’s out of the water as its cnidocytes—the cells that house a jellyfish’s stingers—can still fire even when they’re dead.
Be safe, and always swim near a staffed lifeguard tower.
Other Tips For Sting Treatment
Tips provided by StoneageMan.com
- Do not rub the jellyfish off your leg, this can cause them to sting
- Do not rinse off the sting with freshwater or alcohol. The change in salinity can cause unfired cells to release more venom.
- Do not pee on the sting. Contrary to popular belief, this is both gross and not effective. It’s pretty likely that your pee will cause the cells to fire.
- If there’s no vinegar, rinse with saltwater.
- If you need to pull tentacles off, pull them off gently and carefully, trying not to let them touch other parts of your skin.
- You may not be able to see some tentacles or barbs that are stuck in your skin. Because of this you could cover the area in shaving cream and then shave the skin. This will hopefully clean it properly.
- For pain, add heat around 115 degrees F for 45 minutes. That’ll neutralize the toxins that are in the body already. For reference, that’s not quite as hot as a standard heating pad gets. You don’t want to burn yourself.
- You can also use Hydrocortisone for pain relief.