BARCELONA: Swimmers were banned from beaches along much of the Costa Blanca on Sunday after a large number of Portuguese Men O’War were spotted.
An 11-year-old boy was rushed to hospital after being stung by one of the jellyfish-like creatures on one the few beaches that remained open along the coastline, which is popular with British holidaymakers.
The red flag was also hoisted at La Marina beach near Elche – where the youngster was hurt – after he was stung.
Lifeguards removed the animal’s tentacles from his arm but after complaining of stomach and neck pain, the child was taken to the nearby Elche Hospital.
He was discharged a few hours later after receiving treatment.
Around 75 miles of Costa Blanca coastline was declared off limits, according to reports.
Further south, Orihuela Costa was also hit.
The local council issued a warning to beachgoers: “We ask you to be careful because of the presence of Portuguese Men O’War on our coastline.
“They shouldn’t be touched. Two of these creatures have so far appeared in the water at La Caleta beach. The public should be extremely careful because their sting can be very dangerous.”
Tourist beaches in Benidorm and Alicante were closed in April due to an influx of the dangerous jellyfish.
Earlier this year, a famous Ibiza beach, a favourite with Kate Moss, was closed due to the creatures.
They were spotted at the popular resort of Ses Salines, marking the first time in more than five years they had been seen in Ibiza.
Also known as the ‘floating terror’, the creatures are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
They have no means of propulsion and move according to tides, currents and the wind.
Their tentacles can wrap around a victim, inflicting agonising pain.
The open wound looks similar to the welts left by a whip, though usually there is no lasting damage.
Usually the victim recovers quickly, but occasionally a sting can prove fatal.
Children, the elderly, asthmatics and people with allergies are most in danger as the sting can cause fever, shock and respiratory distress.
Their venom is capable of paralysing and killing small fish and crustaceans.
A Portuguese Man O’War looks like a blue or purple balloon with long string-like tentacles trailing behind it, which can extend for up to 160 feet.