According to Surf Life Saving Queensland, roughly 22,800 swimmers at Sunshine Coast beaches were treated for bluebottle jellyfish stings from December 1 to January 31.
Commonly found across Queensland (and Australia), these Bluebottles are unfortunately an annoying feature when visiting our beaches. So, St John Ambulance (Qld) is recommending all Queenslanders familiarise themselves with the correct first aid treatment when it comes to these stingers. Remember, first aid treatment can vary depending on the species of jellyfish.
A Bluebottle sting
A Bluebottle sting causes immediate pain usually lasting an hour or more—there will be pain at the sting site, a red mark or tentacle mark, a rash or blistering. Effects from a Bluebottle sting can vary depending on the size of the jellyfish, the area of tentacle contact, and the size and health of the victim. For the average person, getting stung by a Bluebottle will present no harmful danger. However, for the very young, elderly, people allergic to them or in extreme cases, getting stung can produce a severe envenomation syndrome with muscle pain, nausea and vomiting.
How to treat a Bluebottle sting
Always follow DRSABCD in an emergency.
Do not use vinegar, or cold or fresh water on a Bluebottle sting.
Hot water is the appropriate treatment, and will help to relieve the pain.
- Check the water to ensure it is as hot (but not hotter) as you can comfortably tolerate before treating the patient. (If possible, pick off any adherent tentacles and rinse the bitten area in sea water to remove invisible stinging cells).
- Place the stung area in hot water (help patient under a hot shower, place a stung hand or foot in hot water, or pour hot water over the stung area) for 20 minutes.
- Remove briefly before re-immersing.
- Continue this cycle if pain persists.
- Seek medical aid for a severe wound or if pain persists.
How to minimise injury and discomfort at the beach
- Observe warning signs. Patrolled beaches provide protective stinger-net enclosures to protect swimmers. Always swim between the flags.
- Wear protective clothing during stinger season e.g. long sleeves or a wetsuit, and aqua shoes if walking on rocks or in coral.
- If stung, the treatment varies depending on the species. Click here for a quick reference guide to treating all type of bites and stings.
- Report to a lifesaver immediately.
Learn First Aid today
Keeping your first aid knowledge and skills up-to-date is important in the summer months. If you don’t know first aid, you can’t help. Course from $75. Book online today.
These first aid tips are not a substitute for first aid training.