WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — If you wanted to start the new year with a splash you will have to search for a pool and not the Gulf of Mexico.
The South Walton Fire District is warning of double red flags and marine pests in local waters.
“We’re looking at a “double whammy” for Beach Safety on this New Year’s Eve,” they wrote on Facebook. “Not only is it illegal to get in the water today, but lifeguards have reported numerous sightings of Portuguese Man O’ War, which is a marine pest similar to a jellyfish. While the man o’ war’s sting is rarely deadly to people, it packs a painful punch and causes welts on exposed skin.”
The agency also offered tips for dealing with the pesky critter.
“If you are stung, do not take off the tentacles with your bare hands. Instead, relieve the area by rinsing it with water,” they wrote. “We do not recommend using ice as it can make the sting feel even more painful.If you feel lightheaded, dizzy, or are having trouble breathing after being stung, call 911 immediately. Have your exact location and information ready to give to the dispatcher.”