MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Beachgoers, beware: a creature known for its excruciating and venomous sting could be washing up on a beach near you.
According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there have been several reports of Portuguese man-of-war washing up on beaches along the South Carolina coast this week.
Though the animals are usually found closer to deep waters near Florida and Texas, the recent sustained onshore winds have temporarily brought the creatures to the South Carolina coast.
This dangerous relative of the jellyfish has a powerful sting and even dead Portuguese man-of-wars washed up on the beach can cause serious injuries.
The Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center says the man-of-war does not actively attack humans, but the organism’s tentacles deliver a potent neurotoxin designed to paralyze the small fish and crustaceans they eat.
“Many of us have been stung by a jellyfish, but this is a more serious sting than our common jellyfish. In some cases, complications can occur requiring medical attention.” said SC DNR spokesman Phil Maier on the organization’s Facebook page.
If you are stung, medical researchers suggest rinsing the area with lukewarm, fresh water and icing the area.