Texas Beaches Have a New Danger: Beware on Shore
Planning a trip to a Texas beach? You'll need to watch out for something besides seashells washing ashore this summer.
Mustang Island State Park in Corpus Christi, Texas is reporting that a Portuguese Man-of-War with very long tentacles was seen floating near the shoreline recently. A ranger from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department shared a video on Instagram of a specimen he spotted in the water Saturday, July 23rd:
Jellyfish vs Portuguese Man-of-War
Portuguese Man-of-War can appear at any time, but they usually show up in late summer, according to Galveston Island Beach Patrol. They are not really jellyfish, but siphonophores. A siphonophore is a colony of small animals working together as one organism, with a main body and tentacles that can be up to 12 feet long.
Are Portuguese Man-of-War Stings Fatal?
The tentacles contain stinging microscopic capsules loaded with barbed tubes that contain venom to paralyze and kill small fish and other sea life, according to NOAA. While their sting can kill humans, they are rarely deadly to most people, but can cause extreme pain and long lasting welts on skin.
Treating Jellyfish and Man-of-War Stings
According to mysanantonio.com, the TPWD ranger suggests making a paste of regular vinegar and meat tenderizer to put on the affected area after removing all tentacle strings. This will neutralize the acidic compound of the poison in the sting. You can also take Benadryl pills and use non-prescription hydrocortisone cream afterwards, but if a severe reaction occurs, you should see a doctor right away.
Watch where you step and be careful in the water! Remember, even if a Man-of-War or a jellyfish is dead and washed up on the beach, it can still sting you.
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