Man o' war stings a pain for spring breakers

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Strong winds and currents sent Portuguese man o' war washing onto Volusia County beaches, and with spring break going on it couldn't come at a worse time.

A total of 53 stings were reported on Thursday, and at last count there were already 50 on Friday.  Most of the stings have been reported in New Smyrna, Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach.  They are almost never life-threatening, but the sting is painful and you might have to watch for them throughout the weekend.

Steve Frances and his 2-year-old daughter, Evelyn, had to make a stop at the lifeguard station after a painful sting.

"It was unexpected. We're native Floridians and this has never happened before, so we have a first," said Frances.

There have already been more than 100 stings, between Thursday and Friday.  Beach Patrol said it could get worse if high winds continue into the weekend.

"We've had a southeast onshore wind for the last three days and they're at the mercy of the wind and the current, so that's what's happening now," said Captain Tammy Marris of the Volusia County Beach Patrol.

Sometimes that current pushes them into swimmers, before they even see the blue tinted balloon-like creature drifting toward them.

"I felt it and I kind of like knocked it away, but I like broke out and my whole stomach turned red," said Volusia County resident, Christina Leyva.

Volusia County Beach Patrol said there is not much that can be done about man o' war when they wash ashore, but spring breakers can still enjoy the beach.

"Look for the beach condition flags, and if we're flying purple that means we probably have man 'o war on the beach,” said Marris.  “So if you have small children monitor them because it's very painful when they get stung."

Lifeguards also flew a red flag on Friday warning swimmers of rip currents.