Sullivan's Island officials advising caution after Portuguese ma - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Sullivan's Island officials advising caution after Portuguese man o' war sightings

Source: Janie Bell Source: Janie Bell

Town officials on Sullivan's Island are advising visitors to take caution after recent sightings of Portuguese man o' war. 

This comes after public safety officials received phone calls regarding the sea creature. 

"While there have been no reports of stings, several man o' war have been been identified," town officials said."In the coming weeks beach visitors should exercise caution in the ocean and on the beach to avoid contact with the Portuguese man o' war." 

The creatures rarely cross paths with beachgoers in South Carolina, officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources say, but sustained onshore winds have temporarily brought them to our shores.

The man o' war has long venomous tentacles that can inflict a painful sting to swimmers or even beach walkers. 

The stings cause red welts on the skin that can last up to three days often resulting in severe dermatitis. The pain general subsides after three hours. 

"In extreme cases the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and cause symptoms that mimic and allergic reaction such as swelling of the larynx, airway blockage or cardiac distress," officials said.. 

If stung, the suggested remedy is to rinse immediately with salt water to wash away any microscopic nematocyst, according to officials. 

"Studies show fresh water is less effective as a treatment," town officials said."In the event of a severe allergic reaction dial 9-1-1 immediately."

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