Monday, January 22, 2018

Portuguese Man-of-War Jellyfish Return To Cocoa Beach

Portuguese Man-of-War

COCOA BEACH, Florida - As of January 22, 2018, jellyfish, including Portuguese Man-of-War have re-appeared along Brevard County beaches over the last few days and are stinging unsuspecting beachgoers.

An extended period of easterly winds have been blowing the Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish onto the popular Florida beaches.

Safety officials advise that swimmers avoid these marine animals because their sting can be very intense, and may adversely affect sensitive individuals or those with underlying medical conditions with more severe reactions. 

Beachgoers should not touch or disturb any jellyfish even when found on the beach as they may remain potent after dying or drying out in the sun.

Most stings, although extremely intense, are relatively minor and will subside after a few minutes.  Sometimes, the tentacles will remain stuck to the skin and it will help to physically remove them as soon as possible from the victim with a gloved hand, towel, or dull edge of a plastic card.  Rinsing the area of the sting after removal of any sticking tentacles is advisable.

If you encounter a sting that results in fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, scratchy throat, or hives that occur on skin in areas away from the site of the sting; These symptoms may be indicative of a more severe reaction. You should immediately call 911 and contact the nearest lifeguard if possible.

How To Identify Portuguese Man-of-War

The Portuguese Man-of-War can be identified from other jellyfish in Florida by its translucent blue, pink, green or purple 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). 

A violet-colored stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to ten or fifteen feet. These stinging, venom-filled tentacles 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.