Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hundreds of Stinging Jellyfish, Trash, Dead Fish Wash Up On Cocoa Beach

Portuguese Man-of-War

COCOA BEACH, Florida - Hundreds of stinging jellyfish have washed up along the beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach on Wednesday, December 23, 2015.


The jellyfish are Portuguese Man-of-War which have a tell-tale blue-tinted, gas-filled air sac that helps them travel long distances across the ocean by acting as a wind-driven sail (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren't jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae)

Below the sail are stinging, venom-filled tentacles that are designed to paralyze small fish but can also deliver a powerful sting to humans who wade into the water or play on the beach.

In addition to its painful sting, Portuguese Man-of-War can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people. 
The stinging can be relieved with vinegar, which is often kept at lifeguard stations in Brevard County, Florida.

Prevailing easterly winds for the last few days have blown the Portuguese Man-of-War ashore along with floating trash and dead Herring that started dying off and washing up along Brevard County beaches last week.

Many of the items, such as cooking oil containers, are believed to have originated from a barge that lost several containers overboard earlier this month.

In addition to its painful sting, Portuguese Man-of-War can cause life-threatening allergic reactions in some people. 


The Florida Department of Health advises people to do the following if stung by a jellyfish:


1. Leave the water immediately if stung.


2. Call the Florida Poison Information Center Network at 1-800-222-1222 or 911 if you begin to have trouble breathing, feel faint or have chest pain.

3. Don't use lemon juice, garlic, athlete's foot spray, head lice medicine, Epsom salts, bleach, gasoline or other so-called remedies. Call 1-800-222-1222 to get treatment advice.

4.  Don't try to remove spines or tentacles with bare fingers. Use tweezers or the edge of a credit card to “shave” the stingers off.