Portuguese man o’ war washes up in NJ

Published: June 23, 2015

Portuguese man o’ war washes up in NJ, Watch where you step, beachgoers. A Portuguese Man o’ War washed up on the Jersey Shore on the first day of summer, prompting lifeguards to sound the alarm that potentially painful creatures are lurking in the waters nearby.

The creature was found Sunday in Harvey Cedars Beach (map), officials said.

“When the wind is coming from the northeast, warm water from the Gulf Stream comes to shore. With the warm water, often comes seaweed (and) critters from down south,” The Harvey Cedars Beach patrol said in a Facebook post with a photo of the bright purple creature.

Portuguese Man o’ War can grow up to 1 foot long and 5 inches wide, but their tentacles can stretch as long as 165 feet, according to National Geographic. Because they have no way of propelling themselves forward, the creatures drift on currents or catch the wind to travel through warm ocean waters.

Though an ominous reputation precedes them, Portuguese Man o’ War rarely kill the unfortunate humans who come into contact with their tentacles, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Their stings, however, can leave bright red, whip-like lashes on their victims and be extremely painful. In some cases, a trip to the hospital may be necessary.

Symptoms of a Man o’ War sting can range in severity and include:

To treat a Man o’ War sting, first call over a lifeguard. Apply salt water only to the wound, according to the Journal of Emergency Nursing. Fresh water will make it worse, as will rubbing the sting, the journal notes.


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