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Thursday 14 December 2017

Irish Water Safety issues new warning to swimmers over deadly Man O'War jellyfish

Sting: Jellyfish numbers are increasing Photo: Patricia Byrne/PA Wire
Daire Courtney

Daire Courtney

Irish Water Safety has issued a further warning to swimmers to watch out for the deadly poisonous Portuguese Man o’ War jellyfish that have been landing on our shores.

There are reports of over 80 on the South Harbour in Cape Clear and over 20 on Keel Bay in Achill. They have issued warnings as far north as Donegal, which is unprecedented given how far south they usually stay.

This is one of the largest infestations of the jellyfish in over a hundred years.

The Portuguese Man o’ War has a strong sting which can cause anaphylactic shock and seizures in some people. Their stings have been known to kill people.

Irish Water Safety have re-emphasised their earlier warning for this Saturday, as the new moon will cause spring tides to leave more of the coastline exposed.

The Portuguese Man o’ War is large and silver-blue with a tinge of pink or red. Its tentacles can be as long as 30 metres.

So what should you do if you see or get stung by one of these?

Ensure you don't get stung yourself when aiding others.

Remove any attached tentacles with a gloved hand, stick or towel.

Do not rub the affected area; this may result in further venom release.

Rinse the affected area with sea-water (do not use fresh water, vinegar or urine)

Apply a "dry cold pack" to the area (i.e place a cold pack or ice inside a plastic bag & then wrap this package in a t-shirt or other piece of cloth).

Seek medical attention if there is anything other than minor discomfort (Please note: The sting can cause anaphylactic shock, if you are feeling unwell go to A&E for treatment).

Irish Water Safety have asked that any sightings be reported to the relevant local authority or to the local Water Safety Development Officer.

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