HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — Heads up beachgoers! There have been multiple sightings of the harmful Portuguese man o’ war on Hilton Head Island beaches.
The Shore Beach Service issued a warning Wednesday after several of the jellyfish-like creatures washed up on the beaches.
The Portuguese man o’ war, closely related to a jellyfish, fires barbs loaded with toxins when something brushes against its tentacles. The cells still fire even if the animal is dead or washed up on shore.
Beach patrol officials urge beachgoers not to touch the colorful siphonophore because the sting is excruciating. Patrollers are burying the creatures in the sand to prevent them from being stepped on.
If stung by a Portuguese man o’ war, Hilton Head Shore Beach Service recommends soaking the sting in hot water and seeking medical attention.