Phuket beachgoers warned of 'Portuguese Men of War'

PHOTO: Phuket Lifeguard Service

PHUKET - Lifeguards in Thailand have warned Phuket beachgoers to be wary of 'Portuguese Men of War', poisonous siphonophores that deliver a painful sting if touched.

"One of our lifeguards spotted a Portuguese Man of War on the beach Wednesday. This is not the first one we have found during this monsoon season - several of them have been seen on Phuket beaches already," Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyuth Chuayuan told the Phuket Gazette.

"It's normal for these kinds of species to wash ashore due to strong winds and waves during the monsoon season. Please do not panic, but be aware of your surroundings," he added.

Photo: Phuket Lifeguard Service

A Man-of-War sting should not be treated like jellyfish stings, which are commonly treated with vinegar or plain water. If a swimmer is stung, lifeguards recommend rinsing the wound with seawater and calling for help.

They also urge tourists to strictly follow instructions.

"Please pay heed to the flags. If an area is flagged as red, do not go there to swim. We are here to help you, but you have to protect yourselves and listen to our instructions as well," said Prathaiyuth.