Thousands of venomous jellyfish-like creatures have washed up on the shores of Cocoa Beach, according to a Naples Daily News report.
A warning from officials about the presence of Portuguese man-of-wars prompted purple flags along Brevard County beaches Tuesday, WTFV reported.
“We’ve issued a man-of-war advisory for the day and extending into the next few days. Avoid them, don’t touch them, don’t step on them,” Brevard County Ocean Lifeguard Chief Eisen Witcher told the Naples Daily News on Tuesday.
Witcher compared the sting of a man-of-war to a wasp sting, saying it is more severe than that of a jellyfish.
Brevard County Ocean Rescue crews told WTFV they have treated 66 stings as of Tuesday. A 2-year-old was taken to a hospital to be treated after a sting caused an allergic reaction.
Medical treatment should be sought if someone is stung and lifeguards are equipped to treat them, WTFV reported. The tentacles need to be removed, and the best way is to do it is to scrape them away is with something like a credit card, officials told news outlets. Then wash the area with sea water.
Man-of-wars have been seen from Cocoa Beach to Patrick Air Force Base, according to reports.
A man-of-war is not a jellyfish, but they are closely related, according to the National Ocean Service. The tentacles of a man-of-war average about 30 feet and can be recognized by their blue, purple or pink color.