Warning over Man o’War at East Devon beaches

PUBLISHED: 09:13 13 August 2009 | UPDATED: 23:57 15 June 2010

STINGING Portuguese Man o War have washed up on Seaton beach, leading to warnings of a jellyfish invasion. Around 80 of these creatures, which can deliver a painful sting that can, in rare cases, cause serious side-effects, were spotted on beaches in East Devon

STINGING Portuguese Man o'War have washed up on Seaton beach, leading to warnings of a 'jellyfish' invasion.

Around 80 of these creatures, which can deliver a painful sting that can, in rare cases, cause serious side-effects, were spotted on beaches in East Devon this week.

Warning signs have been posted on beaches to make people aware that more Man o'War could come ashore - and advice has been given about what to do if you are stung.

EDDC's beach safety officer, Andy Phillips, said: "Although the improving weather should bring people on to our lovely beaches, they will have to take care that they don't get stung by one of these unwelcome visitors.

"If you see one, don't touch it. If you step on one or are stung while swimming, take immediate action.

"The jellyfish can still sting you even when they are dead. Salt water should be applied to the stung area and someone wearing gloves should remove the tentacles.

"The wound should then be treated with hot water and ice packs. If you are feeling unwell, seek medical advice".

The arrival of the Man o'War, which are often mistaken for jellyfish but are actually hydrozoans, is an exceptionally rare occurrence, as they are not normally found close to our shores.

They are thought to have been blown towards the coastline by southerly and south westerly winds over the past few days.

The creatures are so-called because they have small blue 'sails' which are reminiscent of Portuguese warships in Tudor times. In the past they have been described as floating polythene bags and are a vivid purple and blue colour.

But it is good news for beachgoers as the wind has now changed direction so the Man o'War should be blown back out to sea and away from East Devon.


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