Bluebottle, Irukandji onslaught could be over
LIFESAVERS hope a change in the wind will stem the onslaught of stinging jellyfish on Fraser Island and the Cooloola Coast.
Rainbow Beach lifeguard Kalen Schloss said when the wind was blowing from the north, bluebottles would sting up to 30 swimmers every day.
The good news is today's strong east-southeasterly winds are set to continue over the coming days, and Mr Schloss said that should push both the bluebottles and Irukandji back up the coast.
There have already been nine cases this year of marine encounters likely involving Irukandji jellyfish on Fraser Island, compared to last year's total of eight.
Fraser Island Ambulance Station officer-in-charge Phillip Switzer said the latest case involved a 19-year-old male who was stung while snorkelling.
"He didn't see the actual jellyfish but was stung on the lip," Mr Switzer said.
"Approximately 10 minutes after the sting, the patient developed severe nausea followed by substantial pains to most of his body."
A similarity between the nine sting cases is that they have all happened on the western side of the island, in the warmer waters.
That side of the island is also harder for emergency services to reach due to difficult access.
"Nobody's caught (one of the jellyfish) yet, so we can't disprove or confirm what it is," Mr Switzer said.
"It could be a jellyfish in the same family as a Irukandji that produces similar symptoms."
The threat of stingers hasn't deterred the bulk of the summer beach crowd at Rainbow Beach, with the plenty of beachgoers seeking a break from the warm, muggy weather.
"There's probably still 60 people in the water at Rainbow main beach," Mr Schloss said.
He said there had been about five rescues at Rainbow Beach over the summer, and none at Double Island Point.
"It's been pretty stable, about the same as normal," he said.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Include the Irukandji and other box jellyfish
- The Irukandji sting itself is rarely even felt. Symptoms of Irukandji syndrome begin 5-40 minutes later with severe back pain, followed by waves of severe muscle cramps and pain. Other symptoms involve nausea, headaches and heart palpitations
- First aid: flush the area with vinegar to neutralise the sting and call 000 immediately
- Include bluebottle and hair jelly
- Symptoms include immediate irritation or pain at the sting site
- First aid: wash off remaining tentacles with seawater, immerse sting area in hot water. If hot water is ineffective or unavailable, use ice instead