Invasion of the Bluebottles

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Bluebottles

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard that an alarming number of bluebottles have been infesting South East QLD beaches in numbers that are leaving even veteran lifesavers in shock.

Just over the past week, over 13,000 people were stung in QLD, including children. Nearly 1,500 of those were on Gold Coast beaches on Saturday alone!

Blue Bottle Sting

The arched dome acts as a sail, pushing the bluebottle with the wind.

In most cases, people usually suffer bluebottle stings from swimming, but unusually strong northeasterly swell conditions have pushed the bluebottles up onto the shore, resulting in endless lines of bluebottles at the shore break line. Hundreds of people have been stung just walking along the beach, unaware of the armada of little blue devils underfoot.

If you see bluebottles on the beach, do not pick them up or touch them. We know, they are a very pretty colour and can be enticing to small children but the sting is not worth it!

FIRST AID FOR BLUEBOTTLE STINGS

If you or a loved one have been stung (trust us, you will know if it happens!), follow the steps below:

  • Try to scrape off the stingers with a towel (don’t use your bare hand).
  • Rinse the affected area with sea water.
  • Immerse the area as soon as possible in hot water. Hot water counteracts the bluebottle toxin and should result in pain relief after 20 minutes.
  • After this, you can use an ice pack to reduce any swelling or inflammation that is still occurring.
  • Do not urinate on the affected area or treat with vinegar.

For some people, these steps do not result in relief as they may be suffering from an anaphylactic episode. If someone exhibits any of the below symptoms, seek professional medical help immediately:

  • Rash all over the body
  • Swelling of throat or difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal pain

Although bluebottles are out in numbers, we still hope you will get out and enjoy our gorgeous beaches – stay alert and know what to do in an emergency!

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