Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club shared this photo of a box jellyfish found at Bucasia Beach on Thursday. The club warned swimmers to don stinger suits, swim between the flags and to carry vingear and a mobile phone.
Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club shared this photo of a box jellyfish found at Bucasia Beach on Thursday. The club warned swimmers to don stinger suits, swim between the flags and to carry vingear and a mobile phone. Facebook/Tina Ball

Kids treated for marine stings, box jellyfish found on beach

MACKAY Hospital and Health service has warned beach swimmers to take care after three children were treated for marine stings at Bowen.

The warning coincides with the discovery of a potentially deadly box jellyfish on the shores of Bucasia Beach in the Mackay region on Thursday.

Bowen Hospital's senior medical officer, Dr Michael Reinke, said three children were treated at the hospital on Thursday for "large stinger welts on their skin".

" ... luckily these were mild cases. However, it is a timely warning to take precautions when swimming in northern waters," he said.

Dr Reinke urged swimmers to ward off stings with protective clothing and to know what to do in the event of a jellyfish sting.

"Protective clothing such as a wetsuit will significantly reduce your risk of being stung. Try to swim in patrolled areas and know first aid," he said.

It's often difficult to work out which species of jellyfish has caused a sting, so if in doubt, a sting should be treated as potentially serious, Dr Reinke advised.

Vinegar can be poured on a sting, preventing further venom release, while ice can alleviate pain.

Symptoms of an irukandji sting may not be immediate and can appear 5-45 minutes later.

 

Irukandi are difficult to spot in the ocean due to their small size.
Irukandi are difficult to spot in the ocean due to their small size. Valerie Horton

A sting by the extremely venomous marine creature can bring on symptoms including backaches or headaches, shooting muscular or chest pain, nausea, anxiety, restlessness, vomiting and breathing difficulties.

In the most serious cases, irukandji stings can cause heart damage and failure.

Box jellyfish are distinguished by their large box-like bell and trailing tentacles, up to three metres in length.

A major sting results in excruciating pain and is immediately life threatening.

Irukandji are much harder to spot than the average box jellyfish, measuring about a cubic centimetre.

Mackay Hospital and Health Service advises anyone stung by a jellyfish should dial 000 for an ambulance, or seek medical aid in less urgent cases.

Severe stings may result in the need for CPR to be administered.

Marine stingers are present in tropical Queensland waters year round, but present a higher risk during stinger season, from November to May.


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