Surf Life Saving WA blue bottle warning after beach sightings

Surf Life Saving WA blue bottle warning after beach sightings

SURF Life Saving WA is warning the public about bluebottle stings after a number of animals were spotted at Perth beaches at the weekend.

The bluebottle (Physalia) is described as one of the most well-known Australian jellyfish.

Their blue, balloon like sail sits above the water and is attached to a long tentacle extending below it.

This tentacle is covered in stinging cells called nematocysts. When this touches the skin it reacts by injecting a small amount of toxin which causes irritation and can be quite painful.

Surf Life Saving WA dispelled some common myths about how to treat a bluebottle sting writing that lifeguards laugh at some of the below methods:

  • Do not rub sand over the sting as it just causes a rash
  • Pouring soft drinks over the sting just makes it sticky
  • Pouring vinegar over the skin is important for tropical marine stings, but not for bluebottle stings
  • And urinating on the sting is considered gross and doesn’t work

What you should do after being stung by a bluebottle:

  • Wash off any remaining tentacles with seawater, or pick off with your fingers
  • Immerse the patient’s sting in hot water (no hotter than can be easily tolerated)
  • If pain remains or immersion facilities are not available, the application of cold packs or wrapped ice is also effective

Some Surf Life Saving recommendations for beachgoers to avoid bluebottles include:

  • Always swim at a patrolled beach, between the red and yellow flags
  • Look for and obey the safety signs
  • Ask a lifeguard for help and advice
  • Swim in the stinger nets where provided