DNREC: Dangerous Man o' War Washes up on Delaware Beaches - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

DNREC: Dangerous Man o' War Washes up on Delaware Beaches

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DOVER, Del. -DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Police are cautioning swimmers to avoid a dangerous type of jellyfish relative after they were spotted by several people over the holiday weekend. 

Officials say the first call came from a couple who found a Portuguese man o' war washed up on Faithful Steward Beach at Delaware Seashore State Park Sunday night.  They say another beached early Monday at Fenwick Island State Park and a third was spotted Monday afternoon at Cape Henlopen State Park.  

DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation Natural Resources Police Chief of Enforcement Wayne Kline said, "These are beautiful creatures that should be observed only from a safe distance."  He said, the man o' war's tentacles, which may grow to 50 feet in length, "can cause very painful - though usually non-life-threatening - stings.

Corporal Bryan John is the head of the Natural Resources Police lifeguard patrol.  He says stings from the Portuguese man o' war cause pain that lasts up to an hour and leaves whip-like red welts on the skin for several days afterward.  Cpl. John also advised man o' war stings, in rare instances, can result in a dangerous allergic reaction, possibly even fatal. 

He says help should be sought immediately if the sting victim exhibits any of the following conditions: 

-       Trouble breathing
-       Swelling of the lips or tongue
-       Closure of the wind pipe
-       Dizziness
-       Fainting
-       Vomiting, nausea or cramps
 
"If you are stung, seek the assistance of a lifeguard immediately," he said. "If you are stung on an unguarded beach, acting as quickly as you can, you should remove the tentacles with a towel, stick or anything handy - avoiding further contact with bare skin - and then rinse the area of the sting with sea water. Do not rub it," Cpl. John said.

The man o' war's stinging cells can continue to inflict injury even after the animal has washed up on the beach and appears to be dead, he said, cautioning "Do not touch a Portuguese man o' war or even a jellyfish that has come up on shore and looks to be dead on the sand."
 
DNREC says it's the first time in 15 years the tropical Portuguese man o'war jellyfish relative has surfaced in Delaware State Parks.  
 

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