Officials on the island of Koh Lanta, in Krabi province, have issued a warning after a confirmed sighting of the Portuguese man o’war siphonophore. Tourists are being warned not to swim in the sea, according to a Bangkok Post report.
The original report called it “…the deadly siphonophore, Portuguese man o’war”. These jellyfish-like creatures are RARELY deadly. The creatures, usually a clear ‘balloon with blue/purple tentacles, are also known as ‘bluebottles’ and ‘stingers’.
Swimmers should also remember that these creatures are not attacking you – they are just floating around in the sea and we swim into THEM and get caught up in their stinging tentacles.
The warning follows a Facebook post from a Thai tourist on Tuesday, August 1, who says she was stung by a jellyfish while walking on one of the island’s beaches.
She shared a photo of the marine creature, which was subsequently identified as the Portuguese man o’ war. The siphonophore is also common at beaches in Phuket, especially during the monsoon when they are washed into the coastline.
Neramit Songsaeng, chief of Lanta Islands National Park, says his office has instructed all hotels and local government administrations to warn tourists of the siphonophore’s presence. People are being warned not to enter the sea and not to touch a siphonophore if they spot one.
The Portuguese man o’ war has been popping up at beaches in the south during the current monsoon season. The sting can be nasty and painful, primarily affecting the nervous system and heart and causing severe pain.
A sting from a Portuguese man o’war/siphonophore/bluebottle causes an immediate sharp pain and acute inflammatory skin reaction, which has a linear appearance. The pain is worsened if the tentacles are moved or the area rubbed. The intense pain can last from minutes to many hours, and can be followed by a dull ache involving the joints.
The main symptom and management priority is usually pain…
- Rinse the area with vinegar or warm-to-hot water for at least 30 seconds
- If vinegar is not available, carefully remove tentacles and rinse well with sea water
- Be careful NOT to rub the sting area or to get sand into the sting
- To manage pain soak in hot, but not scalding, water.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post