You never expect trouble in paradise, but it sure helps to know what avoid if you know what to look for.
However, trouble can sometimes come in an attractive package. If you’re not familiar with it, you might mistake something dangerous for innocent beauty. And who could blame you? When you’re on vacation in a tropical paradise, you usually keep an eye out for the unfamiliar, the strange, and the beautiful. That’s why you left home, right?
Unfortunately, nature’s surprises tend to come with harsh consequences. Hopefully this information will help you, or someone you know, avoid a painful mistake.
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You wouldn’t be the first person to be fooled by the beauty of this purplish bubble.
It’s certainly a nice looking creature, sure to attract curious people wandering on a beach.
They don’t even have the means to propel themselves in the water, just that tell-tale bubble that keeps them afloat.
But there’s more to the Portuguese man o’ war than a pretty little bubble.
There are tentacles — 30-foot-long ones at that. Some of which have been known to extend up to 165 feet!
Those tentacles are the reason beaches put up warning signs about the Portuguese man o’ war.
The tentacles and soft flesh make the Portuguese man o’ war resemble a jellyfish, but it’s not a true jellyfish.
It’s actually four different organisms, each playing a separate role, like flotation or reproduction.
They can deliver a nasty sting that it typically uses to paralyze its prey.
It causes painful welts and, in rare cases, can even kill.
You don’t have to be in the water to be stung. It can deliver its venom weeks after being stranded on the beach.
So what do you do if you encounter a Portuguese man o’ war?
If you’re out on a romantic stroll on the beach and you find the familiar bubble of the Portuguese man o’ war, don’t touch it.
If you do get stung, don’t pee on the infected area. You might have heard that’s a good idea, but it can actually make things worse.
Instead, use cold compresses to bring down the swelling. If it gets worse, or you show signs of having an allergic reaction, go to the hospital.
Above all, heed the warning signs and directions from lifeguards.
You don’t want to get caught in the water with these things.