Swimmers warned about stingers

BEACH swimmers are being warned to take care after a spate of irukandji stings in Bowen.

Bowen Hospital superintendent doctor Michael Young said six people had been stung this year at Gray's Beach.

Among those were two young boys.

Dr Young said all of the six cases required hospital admission and two were seriously ill.

None of the swimmers were wearing stinger suits.

The most recent sting was a Bowen man who was stung on Sunday night and discharged from hospital on Monday.

Proserpine Hospital has recorded four marine stings since October last year.

Mackay Base Hospital has seen 17 stinger victims in this same time including seven irukandji, six jellyfish, three stingray and one stonefish.

Dr Young said irukandji stings were very painful and could cause heart damage and failure.

He urged people to know first aid, wear swimmer suits and swim in patrolled areas.

“Initially the sting of the irukandji is just felt as a minor skin sting,” he said.

“This is followed by severe generalised muscular pain, anxious behaviour, headaches, vomiting and sweating, from five and up to 40 minutes post initial contact.

“The sting from some species can cause very high blood pressure or affect the heart, potentially resulting in death.”

Stinger season is generally from October to May each year.

Stinger first aid

  • Dial 000 for an ambulance
  • Emergency care: administer CPR if needed
  • Pour vinegar onto sting
  • Seek medical aid, transport to hospital

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