Officials warn about man o’ war sightings along Gulf Coast beaches — sting could send some to hospital

Published 6:33 am Monday, March 13, 2023

Sightings of hundreds of Portuguese man o’ war lining the beaches have prompted Gulf Coast officials to remind beachgoers how dangerous the marine animals can be.

From Florida to Texas, sightings of the blue animals resembling jellyfish have been reported. Although they resembled jelly fish, Portuguese man o’ war can be far more dangerous. Contact with the animal can cause severe pain, require a visit to the hospital and to those allergic can be deadly, officials say.

Officials from the South Walton Fire District in Florida posted pictures of the animals scattered along a nearby shoreline. The posting also issued the following advice.

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“It’s as simple as this: No touchy touchy or you might get an ouchy ouchy,” th epost said. “Please give these stinging suckers plenty of room and use warm water, not ice, to relieve the pain of a sting.”

Officials warn that if you have come in contact with the animal, do not use ice to treat the pain. Washing the affected area with a dilution of white vinegar mixed with warm water is recommended instead.  Officials said that anyone beginning to experience breathing difficulties after being in contact with the animal should call 911 immediately for medical help.