How to Treat a Portuguese Man O’ War Sting as the Jellyfish Relative Is Found Along Beaches Amid Spring Break
If you're stung by a Portuguese Man O’ War, don't panic. The sting, while very painful, is not likely to be life-threatening. Experts recommend pouring vinegar on the sting wound to help deactivate the venom and then immersing the area in hot water.
The Portuguese Man O’ War, a colorful and deadly sea creature often mistake for a jellyfish but able to inflict much more severe stings from its venom-filled tentacles, has been spotted along U.S. beaches often frequented by spring breakers and vacationing families.
The huge creatures are related to and look like jellyfish, but with one major difference: their venom-filled stingers can grow to an average of 30-feet and sometimes up to 100-feet. Their tentacles can also deal painful stings even after they have died.
Their venom is “capable of paralyzing and killing small fish," according to the National Ocean Service.
Though a Portuguese Man O’ War’s sting would not likely be life-threatening to a person, it can be very painful.
Marine biology student Jessica Ganim was on a boat off the coast of Miami when she dipped her hands in the water and got stung, leaving her with horrible swelling and blisters.
“It’s probably almost like this sharp electrical sting, that's honestly the best way i could describe it,” she said.
Spring breaker Hannah Almanzar was rushed to the emergency room after being stung by a Portuguese Man O’ War in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“I felt like I was going to die,” she said. “It was hard for me to breathe. the pain was, like, incredible, it was insane.”
So what can you do for a Man O' War sting? Experts recommend pouring vinegar on the sting wound to help deactivate the venom and then immersing the area in hot water, or to apply a hot pack for 45 minutes.
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