Watch out for Man O’ War on our Beaches

Watch out for Man O’ War on our Beaches

Have your beach shoes handy if you plan to take a stroll on the beach this week.

The high winds and a waning full moon are creating a barefoot walking danger on local Treasure Coast beaches.

You may have to dodge Portuguese Man o’ War.

And those venom filled tentacles can extend anywhere from 30 feet up to 165 feet.

Strong winds may drive them into bays or onto beaches.  Often, finding a single Portuguese man o’war is followed by finding many others in the vicinity. They can sting while beached.

Stings can  cause severe pain to humans. It will leave whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last two or three days. The pain should subside after about 1 to 3 hours.  The venom can travel to the  lymph nodes and may cause symptoms that mimic an allergic reaction. including swelling of the larynx, airway blockage, cardiac distress, and an inability to breathe. Other symptoms can include fever and shock, and in some extreme cases, even death, although this is extremely rare. Medical attention for those exposed to large numbers of tentacles may become necessary to relieve pain or open airways if the pain becomes excruciating or lasts for more than three hours, or breathing becomes difficult.

According to Medline

Call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.


  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in pulse
  • Chest pain
  • Collapse
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain and muscle spasms
  • Numbness and weakness
  • Pain in the arms or legs
  • Raised red spot where stung
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Sweating
  • Home Care

    Seek medical help right away. Get medical attention right away if pain increases or there are any signs of breathing difficulty or chest pains.

    • As soon as possible, rinse the sting site with large amounts of household vinegar for at least 30 seconds. Vinegar is safe and effective for all types of jellyfish stings. Vinegar rapidly halts the thousands of tiny unfired stinging cells left on the surface of the skin after tentacle contact.
    • If vinegar is not available, the sting site can be washed with ocean water.
    • Protect the affected area and do NOT rub sand or apply any pressure to the area or scrape the sting site.
    • Soak the area in 107°F to 115°F (42°C to 45°C) standard tap hot water, (not scalding) for 20 to 40 minutes.
    • After soaking in hot water, apply antihistamine or steroid creams such as cortisone cream. This can help with pain and itching.

    Before Calling Emergency

    Have this information ready:

    • Person’s age, weight, and condition
    • Type of jellyfish, if possible
    • Time the person was stung
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