By David McRee of BlogTheBeach.com
It’s not often we see Portuguese Man-of-War jellies (Physalia) on the lower Gulf coast of Florida, but I’ve had several photos sent to me in the last few weeks of Physalia found on Siesta Key Beach and Anna Maria Island.
Today, Brian Ferraiolo sent these two photos of a Physalia that stung a man rather severely. I asked Brian if he would share more information about his experience with helping this man. Here is what he wrote:
I knew this was a Man of War and a couple was on vacation with their child and I think the man that was stung was the father-in-law . I told them that this is not good and that he needed medical attention straight away. He had just gotten stung when I came upon them as I was walking back to my car. Called 911 strait away . I told his wife how dangerous they are and kept others away from it. His wife managed to find a crate to put over it so that the authorities/medics could see it and keep others away form it. The medics came and took the gentleman off to hospital.
Brian’s quick action in recognizing the danger of a severe Physalia sting and his quick action in getting medical help no doubt will help the victim recover more quickly, and perhaps averted more serious reactions that sometimes arise from Physalia stings. Some people are more sensitive to the venom than others. We hope the victim will recover quickly and return to enjoy the beach.
Thanks Brian, for sharing your photos and your experience.
For those who may not know where Sand Key is, it’s just south of Clearwater Beach. I’m assuming that Brian and the victim were at or near Sand Key Park, since that is really the only public beach access in that area. Here is a link to a Google Map locating Sand Key Park.
There are several good jellyfish products available. One is a lotion that prevents jellyfish stings, and the other is to use after being stung by a jellyfish. The second product is vinegar-based and may not be effective on Man-O-War stings. Heat may be the most effective treatment for a Physalia sting. I created a short video where I talk about SafeSea lotion, and StingMate.
Here is a bit more information about Stingmate and treating Physalia stings.