Beware bluebottle stings, Mumbaiites advised against walking barefoot on beach
Measuring up to six inches, the bluebottle — also known as the Portuguese man o’ war — is known to deliver a lethal sting that causes burning pain and welts accompanied by muscle weakness.mumbai Updated: Aug 07, 2018 14:08 IST
The Maharashtra fisheries department on Monday issued an advisory alerting the people to a surge in venomous bluebottles along the Mumbai coastline. By early the next morning, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had put up banners warning people against walking barefoot along the city’s beaches.
While there is no official record to buttress their claim, lifeguards and marine experts have reported over 100 bluebottle stings on the Girgaum Chowpatty, Aksa, Juhu, and Versova beaches since last Friday.
Bluebottles, also known as the Portuguese man o’ war, are pelagic creatures found on the sandy shores of Mumbai during the monsoon. Measuring up to six inches, they are known to deliver a lethal sting that causes burning pain and welts accompanied by muscle weakness.
“In the advisory issued to citizens as well as the municipal corporation, we have spoken against walking barefoot on the beach – especially close to the shoreline. However, as a bluebottle sting is not fatal, people need not panic,” said Rajendra Jadhav, joint commissioner of fisheries.
Experts from the Marine Life of Mumbai said while these creatures might appear to be lying dead on the shore, they could still sting on contact. “The pain is unbearable because the bluebottle’s sting is venomous,” said marine expert Pradip Patade.
He dispelled the popular notion that vinegar can alleviate the burning sensations caused by a bluebottle sting. “An advisory issued by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute last month stated that rather than applying vinegar, one must gently wash the affected area with sea water and visit the nearest government hospital,” Patade said.
People stung by bluebottles are also advised to not touch or rub the affected area, and instead wash it with warm water.
First Published: Aug 07, 2018 11:28 IST