What Dangerous Creature Caused The Closing Of Some Mass. Beaches?
A word of warning to my fellow Berkshire County residents: If you're planning on venturing to Cape Cod in the near future, you'll want to be extra careful where you take a dip to cool off from the summer heat.
According to numerous posts on Twitter lately, several communities at the Cape have closed beaches numerous times over the past couple of days due to the presence of jellyfish in the water. And not just any jellyfish--we're talking Portuguese man o' war! Just the name of the creature terrifies me.
Cape Cod towns such as Yarmouth and Chatham have closed some of their beaches recently due to frequent sightings of this aquatic creature whose sting, although rarely deadly, packs quite a punch.
Portuguese man o' war washed up on shore at two beaches in Chatham, Harding's Beach and Ridgevale Beach, leading to those beaches being closed to swimming. Also, mid-afternoon yesterday, Yarmouth closed all beaches that face Nantucket Sound to swimming for the remainder of the day.
By the way, if you are unfortunate enough to get stung by a jellyfish, forget what you've seen in the movies or on TV shows like "Friends", okay? Urinating on a jellyfish sting to treat it? Uh-uh. No. Experts say it's a myth so don't even waste your time considering it.
If you happen to have some tweezers, you can really get down and dirty and pluck the visible tentacles from the jellyfish wound. However, the chance of you having tweezers on hand at the beach is pretty unlikely.
For temporary relief, you can apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to the affected area. You can also apply an ice pack or soak the wound in hot water to ease the pain and swelling.
DO NOT use ammonia, rubbing alcohol, or fresh water to treat the sting as they can all trigger the release of more venom. You definitely don't want that. How long the wound lasts depends on the type of jellyfish and how venomous they are.
Typically, if you continue to apply cream or ointment, welts should be gone in a matter of days. On occasion, an itchy skin rash may develop anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks after the sting. Be careful out there. For more on the story, check out WHDH/News 7 Boston's website here.