An alert has been raised across Sydney’s beaches, including Maroubra, as droves of bluebottle jellyfish have been washing up in the coastline. Whilst the onslaught is expected to ease off right before autumn, experts have warned that thousands of these stingers could still return.
Randwick City Councillor Dylan Parker shared a photo of the situation at a Maroubra SLSC tent as dozens of swimmers reported their brush with bluebottle clumps in the water.
The lifesavers usually rub ice on the victims’ skin to reduce the stinging sensation. However, Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory recommends rinsing and neutralising the affected area with seawater first before reaching out for a bottle of cold water or ice. It’s the same recommendation from the Australia Resuscitation Council.
Apparently, applying freshwater first could worsen the sting but seawater will stop the stinger from pumping more venom. Apart from ice, hot water is also good for numbing the pain after neutralisation.
Because bluebottles are sea drifters, their movement is directed by north-easterly winds and not by the season. When onshore winds are strong, bluebottles will likely come ashore, as recently seen in Sydney’s beaches.
Swimmers and beachgoers in Maroubra are advised to watch out for signs and warnings from the lifeguards or download the Jellyfish App for alerts and tips.