Surf City sees increase in jellyfish, Portuguese man o’ war stings

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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SURF CITY, N.C. (WECT) - Locals and tourists in Surf City are noticing more jellyfish at the beach, and more jellyfish stings.

“We did come across a lot of people complaining that they had been stung by jellyfish when they were interacting with our ocean rescue patrols on the beach,” said Chief Allen Wilson with the Surf City Fire Department.

One person had to go to the hospital after being stung by a Portuguese man o’ war. Wilson says it’s best to stay clear of the species because they do not need to be alive to hurt you.

“There are toxins in that tentacle and if you touch the tentacle and get wrapped up in the tentacle, you can still witness a stinging effect,” said Wilson.

If you do get stung by a jellyfish, Wilson suggests rinsing the area with ocean water and trying to pull off any attached tentacles with tweezers. If the stinging persists, Wilson suggests applying vinegar.

“Being able to cover it with some high concentration vinegar will help to remove some of that stinging from the wound itself,” said Chief Wilson.

The recent surge of jellyfish stings has vacationers more aware.

“We know when it comes to jellyfish, it can ruin the kids’ day real quick,” said tourist Justin Wagner. “They get stung and it makes for a tough day for them.”

Parents say they plan to be more aware of their surroundings, but also educate their children on what else is in the water.

“We tried to teach them ahead of time so that they are mindful, but allow them to go out and have a lot of fun in the ocean at the same time,” said tourist Christopher Watts.

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