Portuguese Man o' War washes up on New Jersey beach

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Rare Portuguese Man O' War Washes Up On New Jersey Beach

HARVEY CEDARS, N.J. — Watch where you step, beachgoers. A Portuguese Man o' War washed up on the Jersey Shore on the first day of summer, prompting lifeguards to sound the alarm that potentially painful creatures are lurking in the waters nearby.

"When the wind is coming from the northeast, warm water from the Gulf Stream comes to shore. With the warm water, often comes seaweed (and) critters from down south," The Harvey Cedars Beach patrol said in a Facebook post with a photo of the bright purple creature.

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Portuguese Man o' War found on beach
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Portuguese Man o' War washes up on New Jersey beach
Portrait of a Portuguese man-of war (Physalia physalis), Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, (Photo by Wild Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)
Fish are seen swimming underneath a Portuguese man o' war in the Gulf of Mexico, about thirty five miles off the coast of Louisiana, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Photo credit: PIX11
Photo credit: PIX11
Photo credit: PIX11
A Portuguese Man-O-War is seen from under the oily water in Chandeleur Sound, La., Thursday, May 6, 2010. Oil giant BP PLC's oil rig exploded April 20, in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers. It sank two days later, and oil is still pouring into the gulf.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A dead Portuguese Man-O-War is seen on Chandeleur Island, La., Monday, May 3, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A Portuguese Man-o-War is seen in clumps of oil in the waters in Chandeleur Sound, La., Monday, May 3, 2010. Fish and wildlife are vulnerable to the oil spill resulting from the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A dead Portuguese Man-O-War floats on a blob of oil in the waters of Chandeleur Sound off of La., Tuesday, May 4, 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
1946: A Portuguese Man-of-War (Physlia arethusa), with its inflated float above the water, and tentacles hanging down below the surface. (Photo by Douglas P. Wilson/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
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Portuguese Man o' War can grow up to 1 foot long and 5 inches wide, but their tentacles can stretch as long as 165 feet, according to National Geographic. Because they have no way of propelling themselves forward, the creatures drift on currents or catch the wind to travel through warm ocean waters.

Though an ominous reputation precedes them, Portuguese Man o' War rarely kill the unfortunate humans who come into contact with their tentacles, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Their stings, however, can leave bright red, whip-like lashes on their victims and be extremely painful. In some cases, a trip to the hospital may be necessary.

Symptoms of a Man o' War sting can range in severity and include:

Abdominal pain
Changes in pulse
Chest pain
Collapse
Headache
Muscle pain and muscle spasms
Numbness and weakness
Pain in the arms or legs
Raised red spot where stung
Runny nose and watery eyes
Swallowing difficulty
Sweating

To treat a Man o' War sting, first call over a lifeguard. Apply salt water only to the wound,according to the Journal of Emergency Nursing. Fresh water will make it worse, as will rubbing the sting, the journal notes.

Beachgoers are urged to be aware of their surroundings and alert a lifeguard if they spot a Man o' War or any other jellyfish. Experts advise those looking to soak up the sun along the coast to avoid swimming in water known to harbor jellyfish.

Related: Check out these 'moon jellyfish' that can rearrange their limbs:

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Moon jellyfish
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Portuguese Man o' War washes up on New Jersey beach
Moon jellyfish swim at the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo Tuesday, July 3, 2012.(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
A Moon jellyfish is shown, Saturday, July 30, 2011 off the shores of Pompano Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Moon jellyfish are illuminated by colored lights at Kamogawa Sea World in Kamogawa, east of Tokyo, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
Moon jellyfish are shown, Saturday, July 30, 2011 off the shores of Pompano Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 file photo, moon jellyfish are pictured in an aquarium of the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. It wasn't a tsunami but it had the same effect: A wave of jellyfish was huge enough to force one of the world's largest nuclear reactors to shut down — a phenomenon that marine biologists say could become more common. Operators of the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden had to scramble reactor number three on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, after tons of jellyfish clogged the pipes that bring in cool water to the plant's turbines. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
Two moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) swim in an aquarium of the Zoo in Berlin, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009. They are natives to the North- and Baltic Sea. (AP Photo/Franka Bruns)
Ohrenquallen (Aurelia aurita) schwimmen in einem Aquarium im Zoo von Basel, am Mittwoch, 8. November 2006. (AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas) --- Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) are seen in an Aquarium of the Basel, Switzerland, Zoo on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Keystone, Georgios Kefalas)
An animal keeper of the Budapest Zoo feeds a moon-jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) with a syringe containing brine shrimp during an experimental program to display these extremely sensitive animals in Budapest, Hungary, Tuesday, March 11, 2008. The body of the moon-jellyfish, found in tropical waters, is composed of 95 percent water and it can grow to a diameter of 40 cm (16 inch). Keeping these animals is very difficult as their bodies are very fragile and can be harmed even by bubbles of air. Because of this sensitivity and the difficulties of reproducing oceanic conditions in the zoo, the moon-jellyfish have to be fed individually. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
With a huge image of Moon Jellyfish is lit on the ceiling above, visitors enjoy watching the jellyfish fantasy hall at Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, southwest of Tokyo, Sunday, July 23, 2006. A 49-year-old aquarium displays variety of specimens of nearby Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
With a huge image of Moon Jellyfish is lit on the ceiling above, visitors enjoy watching the jellyfish fantasy hall at Enoshima Aquarium in Fujisawa, southwest of Tokyo, Sunday, July 23, 2006. A 49-year-old aquarium displays variety of specimens of nearby Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
Moon jellies are illuminated by colorful lights inside the fish tank at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Thursday, April 15, 2004. The aquarium will open a new jelly fish exhibit titled, " Amazing Jellies" on April 17. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)
Moon Jellyfish are illuminated by coloured lights at the Beijing Aquarium on May 30, 2012. The aquarium is the largest in China and shaped like a huge conch shell. State media named it a 'Beijing civilized Tourist Scenic Spot' and it houses more than 1,000 marine species and freshwater fish. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/GettyImages)
Mature Moon Jellyfish float at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on April 26, 2012.The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species. It focuses on the Pacific Ocean in three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.The non-profit Aquarium sees 1.5 million visitors a year and has a total staff of over 900 people including more than 300 employees and about 650 volunteers.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)
SEAHOUSES, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: A Moon jellyfish swims beneath the waters of Inner Farne on June 26, 2011 at the Farne Islands, England. The Farne Islands, which are run by the National Trust, are situated two to three miles off the Northumberland coastline. The archipeligo of 16-28 separate islands (depending on the tide) make the summer home to approximately 100,000 pairs of breeding seabirds including around 36,000 Puffins, 32,000 Guillemots and 2,000 pairs of Arctic Terns. The species of birds which nest in internationally important numbers include Shag, Sandwich Tern and Arctic Tern. The coastline around The Farnes are also the breeding ground to one of Europe's largest Grey Seal colonies with around 4,000 adults giving birth to 1500 pups every year. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A miniature Moon Jellyfish glows at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on April 26, 2012.The Aquarium features a collection of over 11,000 animals representing over 500 different species. It focuses on the Pacific Ocean in three major permanent galleries, sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific.The non-profit Aquarium sees 1.5 million visitors a year and has a total staff of over 900 people including more than 300 employees and about 650 volunteers.AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)
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