Cocoa Beach Fire Department Issues Portuguese Man of War Jellyfish Precaution
By Space Coast Daily // December 31, 2015
due to extended period of East/Southeast winds
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – The Cocoa Beach Fire Department and Brevard County Lifeguards have responded to an increasing number of calls for jellyfish stings in Cocoa Beach this week.
According to the Cocoa Beach Fire Department, this increase may be due to an extended period of East/Southeast winds blowing “Portuguese Man of War” jellyfish out of their usual habitat into near shore waters.
“These conditions, coupled with unseasonably warm weather that has drawn larger than normal numbers of visitors to the beach, has prompted public safety to issue this notice as a precaution,” said the Cocoa Beach Fire Department in a release.
The Portuguese Man of War is typically characterized by a translucent blue and purple gas-filled body that floats at the surface. A stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to 10 or 15 feet typically upwind of the body.
It is advisable that swimmers avoid these marine animals as their sting can be very intense, and may adversely affect sensitive individuals or those with underlying medical conditions with more severe reactions.
Furthermore, it is advisable to 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 you should immediately call 911 and contact the nearest lifeguard if possible.