South Bundaberg Ambulance Station Acting Officer in Charge Warren Smith speaking on the number of marine stings near Fraser Island this week.
South Bundaberg Ambulance Station Acting Officer in Charge Warren Smith speaking on the number of marine stings near Fraser Island this week.

Ambo officer gives advice after spate of marine stings

THE Acting Officer in Charge at the South Bundaberg Ambulance Station is warning swimmers of marine stingers after three patients were reportedly stung by jellyfish in the past seven days in the Fraser Island area.

Acting OIC Warren Smith said there had been 17 reported cases of marine stings in the Wide Bay district over the past 12 months.

Mr Smith said the number of stings each year was slowly increasing.

"We're certainly not as many as far north Queensland, and even around the Gold Coast there's a much greater number, but it's slowly increasing," he said.

This follows an incident on Sunday where a 29-year-old woman presented herself to Hervey Bay Hospital with symptoms of a marine sting.

She stayed overnight for observation and was released yesterday morning, though it is unclear what specific species of animal stung her.

Mr Smith said most tropical jellyfish could induce severe pain, and could even be life threatening.

"In some cases there's been recorded cardiac arrests from marine envenomations of box jellyfish," he said.

The current treatment for a tropical jellyfish sting includes pouring vinegar on the wound.

"Once that's been applied for around 30 seconds, gently remove the stings or the stingers, and then you can apply ice and cold packs," Mr Smith said.

"In advanced cases you'll need paramedics, so dialling triple-0 and calling the ambulance is the best method."

He suggested for swimmers this summer to swim at patrolled beaches between the flags, and always carry a first aid kit with them, as well as having a way of quickly contacting paramedics on hand.


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