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More than 3,000 stung in Australian jellyfish 'invasion'

25 Comments
By TORSTEN BLACKWOOD

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I remember getting stung by bluebottles as a kid many times.

Yeah it "stings", but seriously, toughen up princess!

Just don't wrap one around your neck, that's my advice.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Australia seems to have more things that can bite, sting or even kill you than anywhere else. This, for example, is no joke:-

Stings from these box jellyfish -- which can be smaller than a finger nail -- can cause acute muscular pain, violent vomiting, feelings of "impending doom", hair that stands on end, strokes, heart failure and death within minutes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yeah the box jelly is a whole other level to a blue bottle. You simple dont venture into waters you even suspect of having them, mostly QLD certain times of year

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Treatment includes rinsing the wound with water at 45 degrees Celsius or using icepacks."

So which is better? You have very hot water on one hand, and freezing cold icepacks on the other...

Australian beach authorities had better start releasing a bunch of green sea turtles in the water off these beaches to kill these nasty jellyfish.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In 30 odd years of living and surfing on the east coast of Australia I've been stung by these blighters possibly hundreds of times. Australia is in the grip of yet another heat wave and it is summer vacation time. It should be no surprise so many people are getting stung. Yeah, they sting like having a lit cigarette put on your skin and if you have multiple tentacles wrapped around you the pain can be pretty bad. The lifesavers always had liters of vinegar ready to poor on them, which neutralises the sting immediately. I'm not sure why this is not mentioned in the article though.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Matt - what does toughen up princess mean?

Also growing up in Aust, getting stung was not a rare occurence, but should never be taken lightly.

People have varying adverse reactions to stings, from mild rashes to anaphylactic shock. Esp kids and weak swimmers are vulnerable and drownings have occurred, not because of severe toxicity, but because of panic brought on by pain & fear.

Many, many moons ago during testing for life-saving, I swam face-first onto a blue bottle. No hospitalization or anything, but prematurely ended my last day of the 2 week course - please come back next year.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

These jellyfish can't possibly be worse than those nasty blue bottle and green bottle flies that bite, can they?

I can't imagine getting bit by both...

@browny By "toughen up princess" Matt means people should endure the bites of the bluebottles without crying. Jeez...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Nothing New, good old Australia..

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes it hurts.  Love the way the press use words like "invasion".  These things are just being inadvertently blown onshore by prevailing winds and currents.  Not like they have any malicious intent or anything.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Matt was just spicing up his rap with a little Ozzie-ism. For some non-sexist lingo, I would recommend going for something organic and earthy like my personal favorite, "calm the farm," meaning to chillax. "Where's me vegemite sandwich" is another classic stereotype-free one liner.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not like they have any malicious intent or anything.

That's what they want you to think.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The lifesavers always had liters of vinegar ready to poor on them, which neutralises the sting immediately. I'm not sure why this is not mentioned in the article though.

The author probably knew dinki di Aussies would be reading his article & would be more than happy to share their own jellyfish stories ;)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yuck.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Treatment includes rinsing the wound with water at 45 degrees Celsius or using icepacks.

Salt water, in fact. Some people suggest vinegar but this may actually accelerate the poisons in the sting.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Some people suggest vinegar... 

A recent University of Hawaii study concludes that vinegar is by far the best, at least for box jellyfish. After dousing, use tweezers to remove the stingers still embedded.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I was living in southern Aust we always washed with fresh water. Apparently hot water is v.good.

This ABC link explains well the differences between treatments.

www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2011/12/13/3389985.htm

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A recent University of Hawaii study concludes that vinegar is by far the best, at least for box jellyfish. After dousing, use tweezers to remove the stingers still embedded.

Guess it depends on which studies, really. This from Wiki:

Acetic acid (vinegar) or a solution of ammonia and water is believed to deactivate the remaining nematocysts and usually provides some pain relief though some isolated studies suggest that in some individuals vinegar dousing may increase toxin delivery and worsen symptoms.

I don't know for sure, only whenever I was stung I used sudocrem but am not sure that's available in this neck of the woods...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is that Bondi on the pic?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've always treated the stings with vinegar and calamine lotion after the pain has gone. I know from experience that vinegar kills the pain immediately. Calamine lotion helps stop the itchiness over the two to three weeks it takes for the welts to go down. However, the box jellyfish and Urakanji are a completely different scenario. The toxins from these nasty critters kill skin. Vinegar can neutralise the stings, but the damage is done immediately after the sting. Most victims suffer from either toxic shock or just normal shock from the pain. If you get stung by one of these critters and are not within an hour of a hospital the results are often fatal.

@marcelito - Is that Bondi on the pic?

Nailed it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tentacles can be 10 to 20 meters long. Blown in by wind

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Last time I went swimming in Kochi, dived in, straight into a 'Portuguese Man-o-war'. Tentacles all over shoulder and torso. Stung. Hurt a lot. Drove home. Used up my wife's apple vinegar (a bit over-rated and sticky). Never went in again.

And this was in early August, which I knew was the tail end of the swimming season.

No beach patrols in Kochi, and I could empathise with people there choosing to swim in rivers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just what we need. More comedy material for visiting British comedians painting Australia as a minefield of biting, stinging, hungry wildlife. Which come to think of it it can be, actually...

Seem to remember Billy Connolly doing a very funny routine about the vinegar on the beach.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The author probably knew dinki di Aussies would be reading his article & would be more than happy to share their own jellyfish stories ;)

heres one. My ex got stung in Queensland and we had no vinegar. So we went behind a rock and I started urinating on her wound. Half way threw a group people appeared and called me a pervert.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just what we need. More comedy material for visiting British comedians painting Australia as a minefield of biting, stinging, hungry wildlife. Which come to think of it it can be, actually...

Thing is, the vast, vast majority of Australians live in the capital cities and surrounding suburbs.

Many will never see crocodiles, funnel webs, brown snakes and all the others, great whites etc, outside of a zoo or wildlife park.

There is this perception by foreigners that Australia is awash with these nasties and the average Australians has to beat them off with a stick at every turn, but its 100% fiction for the vast majority.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thing is, the vast, vast majority of Australians live in the capital cities and surrounding suburbs.

Many will never see crocodiles, funnel webs, brown snakes and all the others, great whites etc, outside of a zoo or wildlife park.

I spent about 4 months of last year in Sydney. I didn't see a single kangaroo, koala, or anything poisonous, with the exception of one of those black spiders with a red mark on their back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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