Bluebottles: swimmers in hospital

BLUEBOTTLE stings required hospital treatment this week for two Byron Bay swimmers.

Northern NSW Lifeguard co-ordinator Scott McCartney said an ambulance was called for a swimmer at The Pass early in the week and another for one at Tallow Beach on Wednesday after first-aid treatment by lifeguards failed to soothe the pain.

Bluebottle stings can be intensely painful and may be felt for a few minutes to many hours. They can also cause severe illness in children, asthmatics and people with allergies.

Mr McCartney said stingers did not appear to be more prevalent this year, but were proving ‘quite potent’.

“We usually see more stingers in the summer because the northerlies blow them in, but this year there actually seem to be less,” he said.

Swimmers stung by bluebottles should immediately see a lifeguard for first-aid. Stings are easy to identify because of the pain and the red welts left on the skin.

If swimmers are at an unpatrolled beach, they should check and remove any blue stingers left on their skin with the tips of their fingers and apply hot water. Remedies such as rubbing sand or vinegar into the sting should be avoided.

Due to the risk of an anaphylactic reaction, any sting to the face or neck should be treated as an emergency and an ambulance called, especially if there is swelling.



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