In southeast Queensland, January 2019 has been bluebottle invasion month, with 2630 people being treated for stings in the first week of the new year. One Sunday afternoon alone saw 461 people treated on the Sunshine Coast.

Nine people were taken to hospital with severe bluebottle stings during that first week of 2019, and several of those stung suffered anaphylactic shock.

An unusually strong north-easterly swell has pushed the bluebottles onshore on Sunshine Coast beaches. Thousands clumped along the shoreline forcing Lifesavers to close several beaches. Even on the beach, some of the stingers may still be alive, and beachgoers could be stung by walking on the creatures and their tentacles.

Bluebottles float on the top of the water and their ‘crest’ acts as a sail that can be blown by the wind. The poisonous tentacles hanging below the floating part are armed with stinging cells that inject venom into their prey (fish and other small marine life), and into unsuspecting swimmers.

If you have completed a Sunshine Coast first aid course with Allens Training recently, you will know that treatment for bluebottle stings these days is hot water. But first, remove the tentacles by picking them off with tweezers or gloved fingers or a towel, and rinsing the affected area with seawater. Then immerse the area in hot water. Ice can also be used to help with the pain. Rubbing with sand or applying vinegar are not recommended as they may aggravate the sting.

Allens Training Sunshine Coast first aid courses also cover the signs and symptoms, and first aid treatment, for anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions that can result from bites and stings from land and sea creatures, including bluebottles.

When you do a first aid course on the Sunshine Coast with Allens Training, you receive a first aid manual that lists common medical and trauma conditions, and environment situations, where first aid may be required, including a section on marine creatures. You can also download free first aid charts from the Allens Training Sunshine Coast website. With reference to the bluebottle invasion on Sunshine Coast beaches, useful charts are the chart on jellyfish stings and the chart on anaphylaxis.

If you would like to book into a Sunshine Coast first aid course to learn the appropriate first aid response for treating bluebottle stings (any much other vital information), you can book into an Allens Training first aid course. Courses are held at Birtinya, Maroochydore, Nambour and Noosa. You can book online or phone Allens Training Sunshine Coast on 07 5438 8888 for assistance from one of our friendly staff.


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