OUCH: Sarah Spence snapped this blue bottle at Bargara last month.
OUCH: Sarah Spence snapped this blue bottle at Bargara last month.

Watch out for man o' war invaders when winds change

A SPATE of irukandji syndrome victims in the area has been accompanied by an increase in blue bottle jellyfish at Bundaberg beaches over the past couple of weeks.

The dreaded jellies are the enemy of surfers and swimmers, with its sting causing immediate pain and leaving a welt or blister.

Surf Life Saving Queensland regional operations manager Craig Holden said the blue bottles tended to come and go but generally followed northern winds.

"A couple of weeks ago we seen some wash up when there was a northern wind, but with the southern winds we've had recently there hasn't been any lately," Mr Holden said.

"The weather is looking to change again soon, so we might be in for some more soon but it's always hard to tell with blue bottles where they are going to go."

Vinegar is no longer the recommended treatment for a blue bottle sting.

Instead, immersing the stung area in tolerable hot water and putting kids in a hot shower is the best way to relieve the pain.

"You generally want to wash the area first and get the tentacle off because they tend to snap off and then run hot," Mr Holden said.

"If that's not enough then we will ice it, but unless you've had an allergic reaction the pain will fade.

"The vinegar is used on more severe stings from either irukandji or a box jelly fish."

On Thursday, four people suffering irukandji syndrome were airlifted from Fraser Island to Hervey Bay Hospital.

Earlier this month, Sarah Smart, 14, was rushed to hospital with irukandji syndrome after being stung at Elliott Heads.

BLUE BOTTLES

  • Also known as the Portuguese man o' war.
  • Size ranges from 2-15cm.
  • The severity of the sting depends on the amount of contact the tentacle has with the skin.


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