Lifeguards Warn Beachgoers of Portuguese Man-O-War

(KHNL) -- Ocean Safety officials are warning beachgoers of a presence of Portuguese Man-O-War on Oahu's south shore and Kauai's southwestern beaches Friday morning.

On Oahu, officials say about 10 to 20 of the creatures were found in the Waikiki and Ala Moana Beach Park.

On Kauai, a number of Portuguese Man-of-War have blown onto Poipu, Salt Pond and Kehaha.

Signs have been posted alerting beach-goers of the presence of these creatures and officials recommend that residents and visitors stay out of the water at the affected beaches.

Persons stung by Portuguese man-o-war are advised to:

1. Rinse the area liberally with seawater or fresh water to remove any tentacles stuck to the skin. This can be from a spray bottle or in a beach shower. Do not apply vinegar. Applying vinegar to these stings sometimes makes the sting worse.

Portuguese man-of-wars belong to a different family than box jellyfish and therefore must be treated separately.

2. For severe pain, try applying heat or cold, whichever feels better to the patient.

3. Few Portuguese man-of-war stings in Hawaii cause life-threatening reactions, but there is always a possibility. Some people are extremely sensitive to the venom; a few have allergic reactions. Consider even the slightest breathing difficulty, or altered level of consciousness a medical emergency, so call for help.