FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Jellyfish are common in folly beach in the late summer months, but Portuguese man O' wars are also popping up in the Lowcountry, and they are much more painful.
Life-long surfer and James Island native Ryan Godbout says jellyfish stings aren't that bad, which is why he knew it wasn't your normal jellyfish.
"Right away it was pretty excruciating. The first few minutes, really high on the pain scale," Godbout said.
He says your average sting wouldn't be hard to handle, which is why a Portuguese man o' war sting was his immediate thought.
"I rubbed some sand in it to try to clean out the barbs still stuck in me. The pain continued to increase for about an hour," Godbout said.
He said nothing seemed to help his arm; all his normal sting remedies didn't even begin to help.
"I couldn't even sit down. The pain was so bad I had to pace, poured the vinegar, didn't work," Godbout said.
He said growing up swimming and surfing helped him built up a tolerance to stings from jellyfish and sea nettles.
"I typically give myself a three-sting limit when I'm surfing when I know that they're out there. But one of those was enough to do the trick that's about as bad as I'm going to put up with," Godbout said.
Even though the venomous bag-shaped creature took him out of the water for the rest of the day, Godbout said he could never stay away from the water for long.
"You can't let it keep you from doing your hobbies or the things you like doing out of fear. But it was scary and it hurt," Godbout said.
This time of year, jellyfish are so common in the Lowcountry that lifeguards say they see up to 20 stings a day.
They said not all of them are severe, but the key is to not panic and get out of the water.
"It's their home. They're always there. It's the time of year when it starts to warm you have to look out," Folly Beach administrator Emily Day said.
Folly Beach medical responders say if you notice any persistent swelling or severe long-term pain, don't count on just home remedies, you might be allergic.