There’s A New Danger At The Beaches This Year. It Looks Stunning But It Could Kill You!

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What a cool looking creature! Turns out, the man o’ war is not a jellyfish, but actually a colony of little sneaksters that are attached and integrated so thoroughly that they can not live by themselves. At the surface of the ocean, the man o’ war floats through life, moving only by the force of currents and tides.

Strong winds may push them into bays and beaches, where they should be only looked upon and with caution. Where there is one man o’ war, there is many, but often an entire beach will be closed after the sighting of just one.  Recently there has been a massive increase in numbers of Portuguese Man O’ War from Delaware to New York. Watch the video below to learn more about the risks and what to do if you come into contact with one.

When I was in sixth grade I spent a week in West Palm Beach, Florida with my friend and her dad. We stayed in a hotel on the beach where we spent everyday from sunrise to sunset in the outdoor pool. Entering the sunshine state mid Northeast Winter, we grew layers of blistering sun burns in the first part of the week.

We were so heat exhausted that my friend was vomiting up her daily grilled cheeses in the groomed poolside plants, and her father’s concern was that we were spending too much time in the pool, so he sent us to the beach. My friend and I reluctantly approached the beautiful ocean water and were delighted when we learned it was many degrees more comfortable than the Atlantic we were familiar with.

Promptly, I was thrashed with a wave across the face, which knocked my child body to the ground to be pummeled by undertow and exasperation. Then I felt it! An electric shock like whip along the side of my arm. I struggled to catch my breath through the inhaled salt water and looked down to see my forearm and hand red and inflamed.

My friend and I made our way back to the hotel pool where the lifeguard confirmed I had been stung by a man o’ war. The hero then sprayed my arm with cologne to soothe the welts and told us to go swim in pool.

Enjoy the beach this summer, but always stay aware of your surroundings.  Keep your eye out for these beautiful but dangerous and potentially deadly creatures.

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