BLUE BOTTLES! Our Least Favourite Summer Visitor to the Beach
Bluebottles are native to the waters of Australia and can be found on almost any the open beaches, including Mooloolaba. Bluebottles are notorious for causing extreme pain to those who have been stung by their deceivingly beautiful blue tentacle. Despite preferring warmer waters, bluebottles can be dragged in to the cooler waters of winter through the tides. Therefore, it is important to know how to effectively manage stings should you be unfortunate enough to encounter the bluebottle, wither in the water or on the sand.
First and foremost it is important to know that our Lifeguards are our friends. They really look out for us, and tell us if there are bluebottles in the ocean. As such, it is important to look out for signage, or even ask the friendly Lifeguards if there have been bluebottles spotted.
So what do you do if you are stung? Firstly, remain calm – being stung will not be the most pleasant experience of your life, in fact it can be extremely distressing. To make matter worse, sometimes the tentacle can remain attached to the skin which can result in more pain and blistering on the site of stinging. If this does happen, the tentacle should be removed using tweezers or gloved hands. If these are not available to you, peeling it off using your finger are fine, though a stinging sensation may be felt. Once removed, the area should be rinsed using seawater to remove any stinging cells that may have been left behind.
It is vital that you do not rub the area at all. The skin after stinging is really sensitive and irritating it further by rubbing will contribute to more pain. Furthermore, rubbing the area allows the toxins from the tentacles to spread further from the initial site. The area stung, should then be placed in warm-hot water for 15-20 minutes to relieve the pain. This water should not be uncomfortably hot at around 45oC. An ice pack can then be applied to the area for further pain relief.
What else can be done? At Mooloolaba Beach Pharmacy, we stock a variety of products that will help you recover from the horrors of being stung by a bluebottle.
- Antihistamine tablets can be taken to help reduce any swelling from stings and to reduce the severity of an allergic reaction to the sting like Chemist Own Cetirazine
- Chemist Own Paracetamol tablets can be taken to help ease the pain associated with the stings. These come in a variety of formulations that allow safe use in all populations of all ages.
- Chemist Own Antiseptic Plus cream can be used to sooth and prevent any form of infection developing on the sting. The lignocaine in the formulation is a local anesthetic that acts to relieve any pain of itching on the affected areas.
- Ego Pinetarsol Gel is an amazing anti-itch wash which helps to reduce the swelling and itch
- Cold therapy reduces swelling, while providing a numbing effect to ease pain and discomfort. This can be achieved using Medi-Pak reusable hot/cold packs.