Portuguese man o’war spotted near Orange Beach

Local News

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (WIAT) — UPDATE (5/24/2019): This story was originally posted on March 15. We appreciate everyone taking the time to read this article, sharing it and warning others about potential dangers at the beach.  Here are some tips on what to do if you or your loved one are stung by a Man o’War “Jellyfish” or any other type of jellyfish:

  1. Get out of the water
  2. Stop the stinging. There are many debates over how to properly treat a jellyfish sting, for this article we will follow common methods.
    1. Remove tentacles with a pair of tweezers
    2. After removing tentacles, soak the affected area in hot water (104-113 degrees Fahrenheit, 43 to 45 degrees Celsius) for 20 to 45 minutes. If a thermometer is not available, test the water on an uninjured person’s hand or elbow, it should feel hot, not scalding.
  3. Treat discomfort with mild hydrocortisone cream or an oral antihistamine to relieve itching or swelling.
  4. Follow up 
    1. Use ice packs or over the counter pain relievers
    2. Clean open sores three times a day and apply antibiotic ointment.

Mayo Clinic recommends for people to avoid following these methods:

  • Rinsing with seawater
  • Rinsing with humane urine
  • Rinsing with freshwater
  • Applying “meat tenderizer”
  • Rubbing with a towel
  • Applying alcohol, ethanol or ammonia
  • Applying pressure bandages.

According to National Geographic, the Portuguese Man O’War is not even a jellyfish but a siphonophore, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together. The Man O’War’s sting is considered “excruciatingly painful” for humans but is rarely deadly. 

Original story: Beachgoers down on the Gulf Coast should take extra caution. 

In Orange Beach, there were purple flags flying Friday signifying a dangerous marine life warning was in effect. A Portuguese Man O’War was spotted in the area. Often mistaken as a jellyfish, the organism is poisonous and not something you would want to run into out in the water. 

The venomous jellyfish-like creature is capable of stinging even weeks after washing up on shore. 

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