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With summer in full swing, many of us have been tempted to cool off at the beach where activities to keep ourselves entertained are plentiful. And while some have occupied their time by playing around in the water, others’ attention has been caught by something rather unusually attractive which, at first glance, looks like either a colorful plastic bag or a cute balloon. If you do see it, do NOT touch it with your hands - RUN!

As it turn out this 'fatal plastic bag', none of other than the highly-toxic jellyfish - Physalia physalis, also known as the Portuguese man-of-war! This floating terror is a very dangerous species!

The Atlantic Portuguese man o' war (Physalia physalis), also known as the man-of-war, is a marine hydrozoan of the family Physaliidae found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its long tentacles deliver a painful sting, which is venomous and powerful enough to kill fish or (rarely) humans. with the tentacles at one end. It is translucent, and is tinged blue, purple, pink, or mauve. It may be 9 to 30 cm (3.5 to 11.8 in) long and may extend as much as 15 cm (5.9 in) above the water. The Portuguese man o' war fills its gas bladder with up to 14% carbon monoxide.

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Photo credit: 人民日报



"I felt curious about this cute-looking thing, so I touched it to find out what it really was," a netizen said while recalling the terrible event. "I felt awful pain almost instantly and wanted to go to the hospital right away."

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Photo credit: 人民日报


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Photo credit: 人民日报


This enormous scary bruise on this victim will unfortunately not be disappeared for a long while...

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Photo credit: 人民日报


In addition to the excruciating pain that a person who touches the Portuguese man-of-war feels, they will also suffer from a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty to breath, fainting, shock and, in some extreme cases, death from pulmonary circulation failure

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Photo credit: 人民日报


There are two ways an animal can harm a human chemically: the first one is with poison and the other with venom. Now venom is different because it is injected straight into your body and can travel to the lymph nodes which would then complicate things and cause reactions similar to severe allergies. Their stings work as if someone had used a hypodermic needle to inject your body with straight venom thereby leaving you with severe pain. Physalia physalis' tentacles reach on average about 10 meters, and can sometime stretch as long as 22 meters. It was late when the swimmers found them. The venom was still active even after the physalia physalis had already dead.


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Photo credit: 人民日报



Jellyfish tentacles have organelles called nematocyst. When you're swimming, those nematocysts brush up against your body and, sting into you with venom. It's insane.

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Photo credit: 人民日报


AIt’s been reported that the physalia physalis are responsible for 10,000 human stings in Australia every summer. Some survive while others meet a more unfortunate fate. This 4-year-old girl was enjoying her time with her family on Dalian Beach when she came across a physalia physalis. Obviously not knowing what she was dealing with, she picked it up and felt immediate pain. Despite the swift first-aid that was provided on site, the situation was too severe to wait until being sent to a nearby hospital and saw the little girl’s life end on that beach. to send to the hospital, but still failed to save her life.

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Photo credit: 人民日报


Prevention

The Portuguese man-of-war is often called a jellyfish but it is in fact a species of siphonophore that is closely related to jellyfish. It is preyed upon by loggerhead sea turtle, sea slugs, violet snails and some other types of fish. Its sting is painful, but rarely fatal.

Unless symptoms include muscle pain (abdominal, chest, limbs, etc.), headache, weakness that may result in collapsing, having a runny nose and watery eyes, difficulty in swallowing, sweating and rashes, first-aid steps can easily be taken to help:

1. In treating the sting, the remaining tentacles should be removed from the skin so that pain can be more easily managed. 

2. Wearing gloves while removing the remaining tentacles is a better option so as to avoid additional contact with their venomous.

3. A clean stick or tweezers will do the job. A razor blade, credit card or shell can also help remove small poisonous sacs or nematocysts that can get stuck to the skin.

4. When the tentacles have been taken out, wash the affected area with seawater. To ease the pain, soak in lukewarm water. 

5. If the pain remains after around 15-20 minutes. We strongly advise you to seek immediate medical assistance.

Here are some warning tips GiC Team would like to offer: 

Parents should warn their children to not go anywhere near this 'plastic bag', let alone touch it.

Source : 人民日报

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