Threat of Portuguese Man-O’-Wars goes on with Unabated, Be on Guard

So the Beachgoers face a new threat in the water; Portuguese man-o’-wars as alarming numbers of these lethal creatures have shown up on the eastern beaches from Jones Beach to Montauk Point.

The appearance of the man-o’-wars on the Eastern shores in record numbers is alarming as these poisonous creatures are normally found only in warmer waters. The spotting of the Portuguese man-o’-wars closer to Eastern beaches has been attributed to warmer ocean currents and strong winds than usual.

Man-o’-wars are jellyfish-like creatures that have become a peril on the Eastern shores with more than 30 of these been spotted in the past three weeks on beaches from Delaware to New York.

The poisonous creatures have tentacles that can grow up to 30 feet long. Their sting causes agonizing pain and in rare cases, it can even lead to death. Frank Lepore, senior chief lifeguard for the New York town of Islip on Long Island informed that the stings can send children into anaphylactic shock.

Michael Schanz, a seven-year-old who was stung by man-o’-war on New York’s Fire Island this week, described the pain of the sting, exclaiming that it felt like a thousand bees stinging him at once!

The authorities warn beachgoers to take heed as the Portuguese man-o’-war are often mistaken for plastic bags since these creatures have translucent, balloon-like bodies that keep floating on the surface of the water.

Matthew Landau, a professor of marine science at New Jersey’s Stockton University, has advised not to touch the Portuguese man-of-wars as they can sting even when they are dead.

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