ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – St. Johns County officials issued a warning Saturday to beachgoers that there has been an increase in Man-O-War sightings at area beaches.
People planning on visiting the beaches this weekend are asked to be on the lookout for the animals in the water and on the shoreline, as their tentacles can deliver a painful sting.
Man-O-War are not jellyfish, but an animal made up of a colony of organisms known as a siphonophore. It is most prevalent on the Florida east coast from November to March. They consist of a blue colored bladder-like balloon with tentacles, which reach out below the surface of the water up to 40 feet long.
Coming into contact with the tentacles can cause a painful sting lasting 2 hours. Some Man-O-War stings have even been deadly in some cases.
If stung, peel or wipe the tentacles off as quickly as possible. Apply vinegar or warm water to the affected area. Seek further aid from lifeguards or call 911 if you are susceptible to allergic reactions from insect stings.
Lifeguards told News4Jax that despite popular belief, urinating on a Man-O-War sting will not help.