Warning after venomous Portuguese Man-O-War wash up in Cornwall

Portuguese Man-O-War have washed up on beaches in Cornwall. Credit: HM Coastguard

A warning has been issued after Portuguese Man O’War washed up on beaches in Cornwall.

Several of the creatures, which are commonly mistaken for jellyfish, have been found in Falmouth and other parts of the southwest shoreline.

Recent bad weather is believed to be the reason why so many have suddenly washed up in the region.

The creatures can give a "nasty sting". Credit: HM Coastguard

Members of the public have been urged not to touch the animals, or let their pets get close, as they can give a “nasty sting”.

The Coastguard has issued the following advice on what to do - and what not to do - if you come across a Portuguese Man-O-War.


  • rinse the affected area with seawater (not fresh water)

  • remove any spines from the skin using tweezers or the edge of a bank card

  • soak the area in very warm water (as hot as can be tolerated) for at least 30 minutes – use hot flannels or towels if you cannot soak it

  • take painkillers like paracetamol or Ibuprofen

Do not:

  • do not use vinegar

  • do not pee on the sting

  • do not apply ice or a cold pack

  • do not cover or close the wound.

  • Get help if possible

  • Ask a lifeguard or someone with first aid training for help

  • We advise that you always visit a lifeguarded beach

  • If in any doubt, and you need help, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard

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