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Be wary of jellyfish this time of year

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They might be small but their sting can pack quite the punch, especially when they come in groups. Man-o-wars and boxed jellyfish have been washing up on shore.

You might have seen the stinging critters washed up on shore or swimming in our beaches, but that didn't keep Brent Tibbatts, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Agriculture from snorkeling. "I'm about to go swimming right now, and I'm not worried about man-o-wars keeping me out of the water but the east side is more hazardous as far as they go," he explained.

It's boxed jellyfish and man-o-war season. The Department of Agriculture says the boxed jellyfish can be spotted from January 9th to the 11th, and the Man-O-Wars might be seen as late as February. In the past few days, both have been spotted on Guam's North to East Coast. In beaches like Ipan and along Jeff's Pirates Cove, with Tibbatts saying, "Boxed jellies nobody knows for sure why they get together but the thought is, it might be some sort of spawning, they show up for a few days, then they go away again.

"Man-o-wars are more passive - they show up when the weather brings them here and they're here until the weather changes."

Now, if you happen to be strolling along the beach and find a jellyfish or a man-o-war. His advice: don't touch them. Even if they're dead, they still might sting. "For either one, if you get stung, the thing you should do is remove any tentacles that might still be stuck to you. Usually a stick, credit card, or something hard to take them off, flush the stung area with salt water - not fresh water - and if it's still painful take Aspirin or Tylenol or whatever you take for pain relief," he said.

And his advice is solid advice, as the Jellyfish do return in July.

If you spot a jellyfish or a man-o-war, notify the Department of Agriculture at 735-0289 or email guamfishinfo@gmail.com.

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