The dangerous jellyfish called Portuguese Man o’ War has been observed on several beaches in Málaga, Marbella, Cádiz and Huelva.
The Association for the Conservation of the Alboran Sea, Aula del Mar, emphasizes that if you find an individual of this species, you should never touch it, no matter if it is dead or alive, as the sting is very painful.
They are not very common in the Mediterranean, but at this time of the year, they can occasionally appear.
This time they have been observed at the La Malagueta beach in Málaga, as well as on several beaches in Marbella, in Cádiz and in Huelva. A beach in Huelva was sealed off because more than 200 jellyfish were brought to the shore with the tide.
The stinging, venom-filled nematocysts in the tentacles of the Portuguese man o’ war can paralyze small fish and other prey. Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live organism in the water and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the organism or the detachment of the tentacle.
Treatment of stings
Stings from a Portuguese man o’ war are often extremely painful. They result in severe dermatitis characterized by long, thin open wounds that resemble those caused by a whip. Treatment of the sting usually begins with pouring salt water over the sting to rinse away any remaining microscopic nematocysts. Salt water is used as fresh water has been shown to cause nematocystic discharge. The current recommended treatment from studies in Australia is to avoid the use of vinegar, as local studies have shown this to exacerbate the symptoms. Heat in the form of hot salt water (40-50 degrees) or hot packs may be applied as heat speeds the breakdown of the toxins already in the skin.