2 Kids Stung by Potentially Deadly Portuguese Man-of-Wars on Long Island Beaches

Two children were stung by Portuguese man-of-wars Tuesday on Long Island as more of the potentially deadly jellyfish-like creatures washed up on tri-state beaches. 

A 4-year-old boy was stung on Davis Park Beach around 12:30 p.m., according to Suffolk County Police. He was treated and released at the scene.

Another 7-year-old boy visting from upstate Clifton Park was stung on the hand in Kismet around 3:30 p.m. He was also taken to Southside Hospital where he was treated and released.

The boy's mother, Sharon Schanz, said Wednesday he had been playing on the beach when he saw the Portuguese man-of-war.

"He didn't know what it was," she said. "He thought it was the football his friends were throwing around." 

Lifeguard Craig Amarando said the boy, Michael Schanz, told him "it felt like needles being pushed through his skin." 

The stingings come after weeks of man-of-war sightings on Long Island and the Jersey Shore. At least three more of the man-of-wars washed up on area beaches Tuesday, and a surfer spotted one of the floating terrors off Stathmere Beach over the weekend. 

At least three or four other sightings have been reported recently -- including in Ocean City and Long Beach Island.

Amarando said he'd never seen a man-of-war wash up in 26 years, but since last month, beachgoers have snapped pictures of the sea creatures across Long Island's south shore. 

Officials say the northeast wind brings warm water from the Gulf Stream to shore, and along with it, seaweed and sea animals.

"They're common to the area but generally there's not a lot of them," said Riverhead Aquarium curator Joe Yaiullo, noting they're summer visitors to area waters. 

Portuguese man-of-wars, which are not jellyfish but colonies of specialized animals called zooids, have tentacles that grow from 10 to 30 feet long and marine biologists say their potentially deadly sting is far worse than what one would get from jellyfish normally found at the Jersey Shore.

Stings from man-of-wars can cause abdominal pain, changes in pulse, chest pain, collapse, headache, muscle pain and spasms, numbness and weakness, pain in the arms or legs, a raised red spot on the skin, runny nose and watery eyes, difficulty swallowing and sweating.

Despite the dangers, Michael's mother said the sting won't spoil his visit here.

"He loves the beach, so we won't keep him out of the water," she said. 

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