Beach swimmers are being warned to take care after a few people attended Bowen hospital today with marine stings.
“Three children have been seen since yesterday with ‘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”, Senior Medical Officer of Bowen Hospital, Dr Michael Reinke said.
He urged people to take safety measures and be aware of what to do if stung by a jellyfish.
“Protective clothing such as wetsuit will significantly reduce your risk of being stung. Try to swim in patrolled areas and know first aid”.
Dr Reinke said it could be difficult to work out which species of jellyfish had caused a sting, so if in doubt, you should treat a sting as if it was potentially serious with vinegar, ice and seek medical attention.
Symptoms of an Irukandji sting may not be immediate and can appear five to 45 minutes later. They include severe backache or headache, shooting pains in muscles, chest and abdomen, nausea, anxiety, restlessness, vomiting and breathing difficulties. Irukandji stings can cause heart damage and failure.
First Aid: 1 Call for help - Dial 000 for an Ambulance 2 Treat the sting - Pour vinegar onto sting 3 Emergency care - Administer CPR if needed 4 Seek medical aid - Transport to hospital