Saturday, 8 September 2012

Portuguese Men o' War look like Cornish pasties and jellyfish, off Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. Venom and effects. Treat with salt water and if necessary go to the doctor.

Sightings of Portuguese men o’ war of war off Cornwall, Wales and Ireland have hit the news today. They look like jellyfish, but are siphonophores made up of zooids. The Radio 4 announcer rightly said they can be identified by a sac shaped like a Cornish pasty.
Luckily schools' holidays have finished so there are fewer tourists about to get stung.
Man o' War off Tresco, Isles of Scilly
Photo by Christine Hatfield
Venom comes from the tentacles and the resulting stings are painful and leave red marks on the skin. Stings need to be treated if the effects do not wear off. Wikipedia gives helpful warnings about the dire consequences of ‘fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung function. Stings may also cause death, although this is extremely rare.’
Treatment: wear gloves to get rid of the  traces and treat with salt water. With adverse reactions get medical treatment as soon as possible.