IRUKANDJI STELL STING­ING

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

SWIM­MERS are warned to look out for the po­ten­tially deadly Irukandji jelly fish fol­low­ing a sting in Whit­sun­day wa­ters last week.

A 15-year-old girl was stung near Hamil­ton Is­land last Thurs­day and taken to the Mackay Base Hos­pi­tal by RACQ Res­cue He­li­copter in se­vere pain.

The girl stayed overnight in hos­pi­tal and was dis­charged the fol­low­ing day.

Di­rec­tor of the Aus­tralian Marine Stinger Ad­vi­sory Ser­vices, Dr Lisaann Gersh­win said it was “atyp­i­cal” to hear of some­one be­ing stung dur­ing the lower risk sea­son.

“We’ve had stings around this time of year be­fore so it’s not com­pletely new but it’s def­i­nitely un­usual,” she said.

Ms Gersh­win said wear­ing pro­tec­tive gear in the wa­ter could help avoid a sting and she noted vine­gar was use­ful to have on hand.

“An Irukandji sting in the early stages doesn’t feel like much at all but af­ter about 20-30 min­utes they be­come quite dis­tress­ing and then you need a med­i­cal ser­vice,” she said.

“By cov­er­ing the sting with vine­gar in the early stages, it neu­tralises the sting­ing cells that haven’t in­jected yet so they can’t in­ject more venom.”

VERY VEN­OMOUS: Irukandji are known to hos­pi­talise up to 100 peo­ple an­nu­ally and are found along the coast.

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