TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - Tybee Lifeguards are sending out a warning to beachgoers.
A Portuguese man o’ war was spotted on Tybee Beach. Lifeguards say if you are on the beach and see one, please leave it alone and contact a lifeguard or the Tybee Island Fire Department. They say if you get stung by one, clean the area with vinegar and then apply a warm pad/towel or warm water across the area.
Tybee officials say man-o-wars look like a bag floating on the water. Its tentacle pieces can still be active for days after the man-o-war dies. They say it’s a very intense sting and pain can last for a few hours.
So far, Tybee Lifeguards say they have only seen one wash ashore. However, sightings have recently been reported on several South Carolina beaches.
Interim Fire Chief Matt Harrell says the man o’ war is the most dangerous jellyfish. He says they can still sting up to three days after being washed up. These stings are painful. The pain can last up to three hours.
He says parents need to watch their kids because these creatures are not something to play with even though they look like a plastic bag and are pretty.
“Somebody, luckily, was doing a beach clean up and they picked it up with something thinking it was a plastic bag. I would say, if you see a pretty, blue-purple, really colorful looking thing in the water call one of the lifeguards, call the fire department, let us come check it out. If it’s washed up on the beach don’t mess with it. We’ll actually come and we can either bury it or take it off the beach,” said Harrell
The man o’ wars aren’t the only dangerous wildlife on the island. Alligator spottings have become prevalent and venomous snakes do hang out in the dune areas.
Next time you go to the beach, officials say, be very aware of your surroundings.