Beachgoers have been warned to keep away from several beaches after a swarm of dangerous bluebottle jellyfish invaded beaches, in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
Red flags were hoisted at four of the beaches-Pollock, Hobbie, Humewood and Kings at the weekend prohibiting bathing until further notice. A number of beachgoers have been treated for stings from bluebottle jellyfish in the past few weeks.
Also known as the Portuguese man-of-war, they are being blown ashore by strong winds. Stings from these jellyfish result in painful raised welts.
Doctors who treated some patients said in severe cases “a person may develop a widespread rash, have difficulty breathing and feel faint”. Some children who played with jellyfish washed onto the beach were also stung.
Because of their blue tinge, they are often more noticeable than many other jellyfish. They look like tiny blue bags when they are floating on the surface of the water.
“Members of the public are urged to exercise great care as a bluebottle sting can cause extreme discomfort,” municipal spokesperson Kupido Baron said.
Health24 warned people not to take the sting of bluebottles lightly, advising them to immediately rinse with sea water before removing the tentacles and to avoid rubbing the area.