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Beachgoers, be cautious - jellyfish stings may cause health problems

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Looks can be deceptive, and so are some jellyfish, which look so attractive that the beachgoers do not resist going nearby and touching them. They need to be cautious, as a species of jellyfish called Portuguese Man o'wars have been pushed to the shores of Salalah due to recent northern winds.

Salalah and its adjoining areas are under the grip of the north winds, which are bringing some rains, cold waves and Portuguese Man o'wars, a slight touch of which can cause severe health problems.

Dr Sachin Singh and his wife Vinita Singh were on a beach trip when they spotted the Portuguese Man o'wars.

A medical practitioner Dr Sachin advises not to touch the Portuguese Man o'wars jellyfish because it is capable of delivering an excruciating sting.

"It is rarely deadly to humans, but most people suffer immediate pain that lasts up to 20 minutes. In more severe cases, the sting can trigger chest pain and breathing difficulty," he said.

He advises not to touch this marine species even if it is dead. Its harmful capabilities remain even after death, he says.

After the sting, the Portuguese Man o'wars leave long tentacles that cause stringy red welts on the skin. There is local pain, burning, swelling and redness. The welts last from minutes to hours. A rash may come and go for up to 6 weeks.

"Other jellyfish called Velella are also poisonous and found on beaches, but the Velella pack a much tinier sting and won't hurt much," says Dr Sachin, a keen traveller who loves to create awareness among tourists and visitors of beaches and other places.

According to some fisheries experts, jellyfish are classified as toxic and non-toxic. "Most jellyfish stings are harmless to humans and cause only a mild irritation. One should be cautious as a few species of jellyfish are toxic and can cause harm in the form of severe itching and long-duration pain in the affected area," they suggest.

A dermatologist, however, suggests not to venture into the sea for swimming when jellyfish are spotted on the shore. "Generally, cases of jellyfish allergy are reported in summer when the sea is hot, and jellyfish are washed to the shore." She suggests consulting a doctor when redness on the skin starts burning after swimming in the sea or a beach visit.


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