Look out, there are stingers about.
Look out, there are stingers about. Lesley Cargill

Bluebottle 'invasion' on Ballina beaches

STRONG northerly winds are blowing some nasty little stingers towards Ballina's beaches.

With temperatures nudging 40 degrees, many people are heading to the coast for some much-needed relief from the heat.

But before you dive into that clear blue ocean (between the red and yellow flags, of course) you might want to check the tide mark.

Hundreds of small bluebottles are lining the shore, driven in by northerly winds which have blowing for a few days now.

The north to north-easterly winds are set to continue all week, getting up to 25km/h by Saturday at Ballina.

Bluebottle tentacles deliver a sharp, painful sting, even when the creature itself is dead.

The pain - which can last for hours - is intensified if the affected area is rubbed.

According to Surf Life Saving NSW, bluebottles are a very common stinger around Australia.

"They have a small blue air-filled sac and usually one single tentacle that can be more than a metre long,” SLS NSW says on its website.

How do you treat a bluebottle sting?

According to advice from the NSW Ambulance Service, the best options are:

  • A major sting to the face or neck area should be treated urgently, especially if there is swelling. Phone Triple-0 immediately and ask for an ambulance
  • Remove any tentacles that are stuck to the skin with tweezers or a gloved hand
  • Wash the site of the sting with lots of seawater
  • Immerse the victim's site of the sting in tolerably hot water.
  • If hot water is not available apply ice packs, avoiding direct contact with the skin by wrapping the ice pack in a towel.

What you should NOT do:

  • Do not apply vinegar
  • Do not rub sand on the area.


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