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Posted by portugalpress on March 12, 2018

Beaches in the Algarve have seen scores of Portuguese man-of-war – an extremely poisonous sea creature similar to a jellyfish – wash ashore following strong winds and rough seas.

A fisherman in Lagoa has reported seeing “several big ones and thousands of small ones” at the Senhora da Rocha beach while there have also been sightings at several beaches in Vila Real de Santo António.

Maritime authorities are now warning people to be especially careful as the creature has long, venomous tentacles that deliver a painful sting which, on very rare occasions, is fatal to humans.

“They are very venomous and should not be touched,” warned VRSA port captain Pedro Palma.

Maritime police have been patrolling the region’s beaches, making sure beachgoers are informed of the dangers these creatures pose.

As National Geographic explains, Portuguese man-of-war not only is not a jellyfish, it's not even an "it" but instead a "they".

The creature is a siphonophore – in other words, an animal made up of a colony of organisms working together.

For humans, a man-of-war sting is excruciatingly painful but rarely deadly.

If you come into contact with one, Portugal’s maritime authority (AMN) recommends seeking medical help immediately. Do not rub or scratch the affected area as this will spread the poison.

Fresh water, alcohol or ammonia should not be used to disinfect the sting, and bandages should also not be applied. To wash it thoroughly, use a saline solution.

If any tentacles remain on the skin, remove them carefully with gloves, plastic tweezers and salt water, while also applying vinegar to the affected area. To relieve pain, apply hot strips or hot water.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com

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