Blue bottles (Free Preview)

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Blue Bottles, or Portuguese Man O’ War (Physalia physalis), are one of the ocean swimmers evil nemesis’s due to there often nasty sting.

In this lesson you will learn about Blue Bottles, why you shouldn’t always fear them and how to treat a bluebottle sting.

Learning outcomes

  • Recognise a Blue Bottle
  • Demonstrate how to treat a Blue Bottle sting

To treat a bluebottle sting

Most beach-goers in Australia swim at non-tropical beaches, and so are most likely to come across the more harmless, non-tropical stinger varieties such as the common Bluebottle.

For the average person, getting stung by one will present no harmful danger, however, for the very young, elderly, people allergic to them or in extreme cases, they can present further complications.


  • Find a place to rest with someone who can watch over you.
  • Don’t rub the sting area.
  • Pick off any remaining tentacles with fingers (a harmless prickling may be felt).
  • Rinse the stung area well with seawater to remove any invisible stinging cells.
  • Place the stung area in hot water (at a temperature your can comfortably tolerate).
  • If the pain is unrelieved by the heat, or if hot water is not available, apply cold packs or wrapped ice.
  • If the symptoms persist or for stings that cover a particularly large area, or across the throat & face call triple zero.

Blog: How to treat a Blue Bottle Sting

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