Hundreds of venomous man-o-war ‘jellyfish’ wash up on UK beaches across coast

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Hundreds of poisonous man o’war ‘jellyfish’ are washing up on the beaches of Cornwall, carrying a possible deadly sting.

Beachgoers have spotted dozens of Portuguese man o’war floating towards the shore at popular beaches by Falmouth and St Ives.

Technically not jellyfish, the menacing blubber is a marine hydrozoan found in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Also commonly known as ‘floating terror’, its sting can send people into anaphylactic shock with young children particularly at risk.

On Sunday, around 40 man o’ war were spotted on Gunwalloe beach at Cornwall’s famous Lizard peninsula.

Strong winds last week brought the creatures closer to the coastline, when a warning was issued by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Marine Strandings Network.

Other recent sightings have been reported at Gyllyngvase Beach and Maenporth Beach at Falmouth, Loe Bar near Porthleven, Hannafore Beach, and Porthkidney Beach near St Ives.

The most recent was spotted yesterday by Rachel Clarke, of Falmouth, who is urging dog owners to be vigilant.

The Cornish resident counted a whopping 13 of the venomous creatures on Castle Beach.

Some man o’ war’s tentacles can grow up to a staggering 165ft, packing a powerful sting.

Cosatguards in Cornwall issued “Beast on the Beach” warnings this week as sightings continue.

A spokesperson at Falmouth Coastguard Rescue Team said: “Beast on the Beach Warning. Please be aware.

“The Coastguard have been informed of multiple Portuguese Man O’War being washed up on the beaches and along the shoreline in West Cornwall, after the rough weather over the last couple of days.

“Please do not touch these beautiful creatures and keep your pets away from them as they can give a nasty sting.

“Most stings from sea creatures in the UK are not serious and can be treated with first aid. Sometimes you may need to go to hospital.”

Symptoms of sea creature stings can include intense pain in the affected area and an itchy rash.

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Jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-war stings can also cause raised circular areas on the skin, known as welts.

If stung, people are advised to rinse the affected area with seawater and remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card.

Coastguards also advise to soak the area in very warm water for at least half an hour and to take painkillers such a paracetamol or Ibuprofen.