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How to treat a bluebottle sting

Most beachgoers 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.

How to treat a Bluebottle sting:

  • 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 (in Australia).

Watch this video lesson on bluebottles and see Andre purposely sting himself to show you how to treat your sting.

First published April 2013

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Andre Slade

Andre is the owner of OceanFit with over 20 years in the swimming education, lifeguarding and coastal safety industry.

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