Officials issue warning after Portuguese man o’ war sightings at Lowcountry beaches

Published: Jun. 5, 2019 at 6:39 PM EDT
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SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Sullivans Island officials have issued a warning after a Portuguese man o’ war was found on the beach Wednesday morning.

“While there have been no reports of stings, this is the first man o’ war that has been identified on the beach," town administrator Andy Benke said. "Last week there were reports of Portuguese man o’ war at beaches in Northern Georgia and southern South Carolina.”

The man 'o war lives on the on the ocean surface and has no means of propulsion. Wind and tide conditions often push them close to the beach or cause them to wash ashore.

Some beachgoers on Folly Beach have reported Portuguese Man O’ War sightings.

Two sightings were reported last Friday and another on Wednesday morning by viewer Staci Martin.

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 generally subsides after three hours. If stung, the recommended treatment is vinegar and warmth. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, deal 911.

Last summer, city officials issued warnings after sightings and stings in June and August.

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