Man o’ war warnings come to Delaware beaches

 This Portuguese man o' war washed ashore Monday morning at Fenwick Island. (photo courtesy of DNREC)

This Portuguese man o' war washed ashore Monday morning at Fenwick Island. (photo courtesy of DNREC)

Beach goers beware. Several Portuguese man o’ war have washed up on Delaware beaches in the past few days.

The sting of the jellyfish-like man o’ war can be very painful and last for up to an hour. Red whip-like welts are left on a victim’s skin for days. Now, several of the dangerous creatures have been seen at Delaware beaches, the first at Delaware Seashore State Park on Sunday night. Others have been seen at Fenwick Island and at Cape Henlopen.

“These are beautiful creatures that should be observed only from a safe distance,” said the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Wayne Kline. The man o’ war’s tentacles, which may grow to 50 feet in length, “can cause very painful – though usually non-life-threatening – stings.”

If stung, 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. 

Kline also encouraged any beach goers encountering a Portuguese man o’ war at the beach to exit the water immediately and inform the nearest lifeguard of their sighting. 

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