COCOA BEACH, Florida – Recent southeasterly winds have been blowing Portuguese Man-of-War along with seaweed onto the popular tourist beaches of Florida’s Space Coast this weekend.
Often, the Portuguese Man-of-War (technically, Portuguese Man-of-War aren’t jellyfish but are instead a colony of small organisms called Siphonophorae) become entangled in the seaweed which makes it harder for beachgoers to see the stinging marine life before it is too late.
According to the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida, winds will shift to the southwest on Monday and northwest on Tuesday.
So, there is a good chance that the Portuguese Man-of-War will clear out along Brevard County beaches by Christmas Eve in time for Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas.
The Portuguese Man-of-War can be identified from other jellyfish in Florida by its translucent blue and purple gas-filled air sac that helps them travel long distances across the ocean by acting as a wind-driven sail.
A stinging tentacle cluster mass under the body can have tentacles that may extend up to ten or fifteen feet which captures small prey such as fish.
Most stings, although extremely intense, are relatively minor and will subside after a few minutes.
Sometimes, the tentacles will remain stuck to the skin and it will help to physically remove them as soon as possible from the victim with a gloved hand, towel, or dull edge of a plastic card.
Rinsing the area of the sting after removal of any sticking tentacles is advisable.
If you encounter a sting that results in fainting, shortness of breath, chest pain, scratchy throat, or hives that occur on the skin in areas away from the site of the sting; These symptoms may be indicative of a more severe reaction. You should immediately call 911 and contact the nearest lifeguard if possible.