A 7-year-old was taken to the hospital after being stung by the venomous creature Tuesday afternoon, police say.
Updated Date July 7, 2015 Moderation
Two children were apparently stung by highly venomous Portuguese Man o’ War at Fire Island beaches Tuesday, according to Suffolk Police.
One of the children, a 7-year-old, was taken Southside Hospital in Bay Shore for treatment after being stung in the hand in Kismet at about 3:08 p.m. The other child, a 4-year-old, was stung in Davis Park at about 12:17 p.m.
Portuguese Man o’ War, jellyfish-like creatures covered with venom-filled nematocysts that can paralyze fish and other small creatures, are rare in the waters off Fire Island as they are most commonly found in the open ocean in warm tropical waters, police said.
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Warm ocean currents and a south wind may have resulted in them being pushed closer to shore Tuesday, police said. Dozens of Portuguese Man o’ War have washed up on beaches on the New Jersey shore in recent weeks.
The Man o’ War sting is painful to humans and the venom may result in an allergic reaction, but is rarely fatal.
According to a post on the Fire Island National Seashore Facebook page,Portuguese Man o’ War are not individual organisms, but rather a colony of organisms.
“The long tentacles of the Man o’ War can cause a painful sting, even after it has died,” the post reads. “Beachgoers should be vigilant and should maintain a safe distance.”
Town of Islip officials reminded beachgoers Tuesday that “purple flags at ocean beaches indicate that beach staff has spotted possible dangerous marine life. Please use caution during these times.”