Sea lice, bluebottles give swimmers a sting

Marine bluebottles have been frequenting North Coast beaches lately with north-easterly winds.
Marine bluebottles have been frequenting North Coast beaches lately with north-easterly winds. Trevor Veale

A MIXTURE of bluebottles and sea lice kept lifeguards and volunteers busy at North Coast beaches over the weekend.

Northern NSW Lifeguard Coordinator for Australian Lifeguard Service (NSW), Scott McCartney, said they had seen a mixture of the two stinging marine creatures over the past week.

"Last week we had a few winds that brought a fair few bluebottles in during the afternoons, and on the weekend we saw a mixture of these and sea lice,” Mr McCartney said.

"One of the lifeguards was constantly running up to the freezer to get more ice and bringing it back down to Byron Main Beach for treatments over the weekend.”

Mr McCartney said sea lice usually come around with seaweed and allow the winds to move them around.

North-easterly winds bring the marine critters to our shores.

Mr McCartney warned beach-goers there could be more on the way.

"The big swells we have seen have subsided a fair bit so there's a good chance few more may blow in.”

"Same as most things, if worried about marine creatures hassling you just ask lifeguards they will have an idea of the frequency and severity of the issue.”

He said if you get stung by a bluebottle, make sure the stinger is off first.

"Rinse it off, and if the stinger is still on the person use your fingers to get the stinger out as it can't get stuck in fingers.

"Once it's all off, apply water as hot as the person can stand on the affected area. This gets rid of the pain and poison.

"A lot of beaches don't have access to hot water so the next best thing to do is to rinse under fresh water and then apply ice.”

Topics:  bluebottles northern rivers beaches northern rivers environment sea lice surf life saving australia

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