FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – At least one Portuguese man o’ war was spotted on Folly Beach Wednesday morning.
Staci Martin, who sent us photos of the creature, discovered 6th block east around 7:00 a.m.
The Portuguese man o‘ war is commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean and lives on the ocean surface. While not a true jellyfish, the organism is often mistaken for one and can deliver a powerful sting.
Officials with the South Carolina Aquarium say it is common to see them closer to shore this time of year. If you see one, do not go into the water and do not touch if found on the beach.
Wind and tide conditions often push them close to the beach or cause them to wash ashore.
Stings will usually cause red welts on the skin that can last up to 3 days and could result in severe dermatitis.
Pain generally goes away after 3 hours. In extreme cases, the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and cause symptoms that mimic an allergic reaction like swelling of the larynx, airway blockage or cardiac distress.
If stung, the suggested remedy is to rinse immediately with salt water to wash away any microscopic nematocysts. Studies show fresh water is less effective. In the event of a severe allergic reaction, dial 911 immediately.