HARVEY CEDARS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A potentially painful nuisance washed up on a beach in New Jersey.

Lifeguards on Long Beach Island found a man o’war on the sand, now beach goers are being warned.

As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported, yellow flags flying on the beach in Harvey Cedars indicate that there are hazards on the beach and in the water.

On Monday, those water hazards included the Portuguese man o’ war.

Lifeguard Captain Randy Townsend found of the purple marine animals in the sand on Sunday morning.

“It’s carried by the currents and the winds. We had an easterly flow over the past few days. The water this time of year is starting to warm up so it’s no surprise. They have found them in the area here before but it’s my first time ever seeing one here in 17 years though,” Townsend said.

Portuguese man o’ war are typically found in warmer waters. They are a close relative of the nettles jellyfish that are common in the New York area.

Their venom filled tentacles cause severe pain to humans, leaving welts on the skin that can last for days.

In extreme cases their venom can lead to fever, shock, and respiratory problems.

Lifeguards said if you come across a man o’ war, don’t touch it. Even if it appears to be dead it can still sting you.

If you are stung by a man o’ war, remove the tentacles from your skin, apply salt water to the affected area, and follow up with hot water for 15-20 minutes, it’s been shown to ease the pain better than cold water.

Some beachgoers said now that they know about the purple pests, they’re being more careful.

“We’re just very cautious to look for things in the water,” Marcia Tonkin said.

Others said they won’t change their beach routines.

“If a shark was seen, that would make me nervous, not a jellyfish,” Sheldon Sandler said.

“It comes with the territory. What are you going to do? It’s still a good day at the beach,” Elaine Bonowitz said.

“We have limited time to get to the beach, so we’re going to take advantage of it whenever we can. The sun’s out you just go in the water and look around,” Matthew Bonowitz added.

Lifeguards said checking your surroundings is the best way to avoid man o’ wars, jellyfish and other dangerous marine animals.

The currents that brought the man o’ war to the area are changing. It won’t carry all of the creatures away with it, but it should prevent more from being brought in.

 

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