Jellyfish attack Boston area beaches!
Poisonous Portuguese men-of-war, in an unusually large invasion, stung at least 14 people in Massachusetts during the last week, prompting periodic swimming bans on Cape and Islands beaches during one of the summer’s busiest holiday weeks.
Local and state officials say the intermittent beach closings may continue through Thursday, as the jellyfish-like creatures continue to wash up on beaches from Westport to Nantucket. However, they believe that shifting winds should carry the strange creatures, which are more common in tropical waters, back to sea after that.
None of the stings appear to be serious, although several people were taken to local hospitals for evaluation. Contact with a tentacle, which can dangle 50 feet below the surface, can bring painful welts that look like whip marks. Some people are allergic to the stings and, in extremely rare cases, they may cause anaphylactic shock, which can cause death.
Yesterday, Nantucket officials prohibited swimming on about 13 miles of south-facing beaches, but reopened much of the area in the afternoon, after winds died down and numbers of the creatures appeared to decline.
In Falmouth, Menauhant Beach was closed early in the day, but lifeguards later put up a sign that said swimming was allowed “at your own risk.”
Chapoquoit Beach in Falmouth also closed briefly when eight men-of-war washed up on the shore or were spotted near the beach. Continue reading