Stinging Man-Of-War Swarm So. Fla. Beaches

FORT LAUDERDALE – (CBS4) – From afar, their blue tint provokes curiosity.

But lifeguards continue to warn beachgoers to stay away from what some are calling the largest invasion of Portuguese Man-of-War in decades. CBS4’s Peter D’Oench recently walked through a Broward beach along the 1300 block of A1A spotting hundreds of them.

Within minutes, D’Oench and his crew found victims of their stings. One such victim was Gigi Bouchard.

“I was afraid. What is that?” Bouchard said.

Another beachgoer said her toe burned.

“I looked at my toe. It was all red,” said Francine Roibitaille.

Purple flags flew high warning swimmers of the dangers and southerly winds of at least 5 mph have blown in more Man-of-War. Its sting can be serious.

“It burned, like a small sunburn,” said Matt Piersall, who was stung by one of them. “That burn lasted six to eight hours.”

Mike Garcia, a medical assistant, said symptoms could include shortness of breath.

“Respiratory problems, if you’re allergic to stings. It can cause problems for your lower extremities. It can even close up the esophagus,” Garcia said.

One lifeguard said you could be allergic to a Man-of-War sting if you’re allergic to bees, said Breck Ballou, of Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue.

“My medical director has us using vinegar,” Ballou said. “Then we first take the tentacles off. We remove the tentacles.”

If you should experience a sting, lifeguards often have gels and other solutions to help.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Peter D'Oench
  • JB

    We’re finding them all along the Florida Keys by the hundreds also!

  • Melisa

    In Illinois we have 8 foot snow drifts. I’d take my chances with a jellyfish anyday. :-D

    • topher

      Yeah last I checked snow drifts don’t hurt you….

  • Tim

    Snow sucks, granted. BUT, I’ve been stung by those things and it ain’t no fun! Had stings all up and down my legs.

  • Toni

    This sucks! on our way down in a couple weeks to the keys and staying on that side! hope they are gone by then! :)

  • Lawrence Shimer

    Ahhh any Floridian will tell ya it comes with the, sharks, gators, crocks & snakes all of which are worse than the jelly

  • KeyWester

    Adoph’s meat tenderizer works on the stings too. A lost of divers carry a bottle for this.

    • KeyWester

      Correction: a lot of divers

  • linda

    we arrived in fort lauderdale beach on sunday feb 6 and saw hundreds washed up on the beach but we didn’t know what they were. it would have been nice of the hotel staff or lifeguards to let you know why the purple flag was out. within 20 minutes my son was stung. the internet tells you not to put vinegar on it as it spreads the toxins. they say to put ocean water back on it right away and then apply hot water to deactivate the toxins.

  • Adrian

    I work on the beach and for the past month and a half i have seen them on the beach. Their stings hurt like hell and I have seen plenty of people end up in the hostipal due to them. One thing I have read that contradicts a statement on this article is that to treat a sting you do not use vinegar since it will only worsen the wounded area. I read to use salt water first and then warm water (115 degrees F).

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