article icon

Bluebottle jellyfish sting

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

Bluebottle jellyfish are common along the south-eastern beaches of Australia and often sting bathers. Typically these stings self-resolve with little intervention but there are some self-care treatments that can help speed up the process.

More information

Bluebottles are recognised by their characteristic blue translucent appearance and are the leading cause of jellyfish stings in the world. The sting is immediately painful and leaves a distinctive ribbon-like sting across the skin. The sting is caused by venom darts lining the tentacles that deploy on contact. The stings can be very painful depending on the site affected but this will usually fade within an hour or two. The sting eruption can last for a few days. Bluebottle stings are not contagious and can't be passed on to others.

How can I calm symptoms?

Start with rinsing the sting in seawater and ensuring all tentacles are removed. Next, put the affected skin in warm water, about 45 degrees C, for 20 minutes. This serves to partially break down the toxin and dilutes the intensity of pain from the sting. Applying an ice pack is an alternative. Although there is some suggestion that application of vinegar may be useful for box jellyfish stings, it's not helpful with bluebottle stings and may even worsen the pain.

When should I see my doctor?

It is best to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of a wider generalised reaction to the sting. Symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, palpations, swelling, dizziness or collapse should prompt urgent assessment and likely a call to the emergency services.

Was this helpful?

Was this helpful?

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
App Store
Google Play
Piff tick
Version 2.28.0
© 2024 Healthwords Ltd. All Rights Reserved