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Portugese man-of-war sightings are increasing lately

Portuguese man-of-war (ABCNews.com photo)

NEW BERN, Craven County - As if there isn't enough things in the water to worry about.

Portuguese man-of-war sightings are increasing up and down the East Coast. The Brunswick Beacon reports a couple from Holden Beach snapped a photo of an encounter on Monday. Rick Fox and his wife Elaine said they were walking along the shore when they spotted the creature in the surf during low tide.

"My wife had never seen one before and thought it was a toy. I told her not to touch it because I had seen them in the Caribbean and knew their sting was dangerous," Rick Fox told the newspaper. "I was not aware they would come this far north. Everyone needs to know to stay away from them."

There have been very few sightings along our coast. However, sightings have also turned up along the South Carolina coast and even more sightings have been reported as far north as Cape Cod, Md. TheState.com reports there were a dozen people who were treated for stings on Tybee Island, Ga. while one other person was stung in South Carolina.

Swimmers are alerted to get out of the water quickly and alert lifeguards if you see one. Even a dead one can hurt. If you are stung by one, it can be extremely painful but rarely deadly. Vinegar is the best way to treat a sting.

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