Public warned over largest infestation of Portuguese Man o’war in Ireland over 100 years
The creatures give a very strong sting and to some people can cause anaphylactic shock or seizures.
Irish Water Safety is alerting the public to exercise caution on the south, west and northwest coastline in Ireland over the next few days following one of the largest infestations of the Portuguese Man o’war on our western seaboard in over a hundred years.
There have been reports of in excess of 80 creatures landing on the South Harbour in Cape Clear and in excess of 20 on Keel Bay in Achill, while local Authorities from Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo and Donegal have reported them on their shores, mainly in south and southwest facing bays.
Irish Water Safety are warning surfers, kite surfers, swimmers, kayakers, divers walkers to keep a vigilant eye open for the creatures, which give a very strong sting and to some people can cause anaphylactic shock or seizures.
The infestation has come about as Ireland has experienced tropical maritime air for almost two months now with very little northerly winds; in addition, sea water temperatures are approximately 15 degrees Celsius.
There is a new moon on Saturday, October 1, which will lead to spring tides and larger exposed areas of coastline where sightings of the venomous siphonophores (to most people, jellyfish) are more likely.
Irish Water Safety have issued the following instructions to anyone who might come into contact with the creatures in coastal areas.
- 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).
Members of the public should report the sightings of these two jellyfish to the relevant Local Authority or Local Water Safety Development Officer.
You can find more information here.
To download a Jellyfish photo identification Card and First aid treatment information, meanwhile, click here.