CPR First Aid

first aid treatment for blue bottle jellyfish sting

First Aid Treatment for Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting

Blue Bottle Jellyfish are frequently seen on Perth beaches. Their stings are painful and may last for hours until a few days, especially if a first aid treatment is not done. Unfortunately, cases of blue bottle jellyfish stings are quite high not only in Perth but also in other parts of Australia. The translucent bodies of blue bottle jellyfish make them difficult to spot in the water. Avoiding Perth or any Australian beach may be the best prevention from their sting. If this is not possible, swimming safety tips may be followed. One of these is knowing the first aid response to blue bottle jellyfish stings, which will be discussed below. Being able to correctly perform them in emergencies is a skill that may be acquired by enrolling in first aid courses in Perth.

What is the Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

The Blue Bottle Jellyfish (Physalia utriculus), also known as Pacific Man-of-War, is a colony of four kinds of highly modified individuals (zooids) according to the Australian Museum. Each kind of zooid is dependent on one another.

What are the Zooids in the Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

The zooids in the Blue Bottle Jellyfish are namely:

  1. Pneumatophore
  2. Gonozooids
  3. Gastrozooids
  4. Dactylozooids

The zooids in the blue bottle jellyfish function differently and may also be identified by their appearance.

What is the Function of Pneumatophore in Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

The pneumatophore or the float is the topmost part of the Blue Bottle Jellyfish’s body and is a single individual that supports the rest of the colony. It has a shape of a bottle or pear that may exceed 15 cm. Most of its colour is blue and the upper margin may be green or pink. The pneumatophore (float) is a living, muscular bag that secretes its gas that is the same as air.

What is the Function of Gonozooids in Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

The gonozooids are the reproductive polyps of the Blue Bottle Jellyfish which are found below the float. This is an elongated part of the blue bottle jellyfish that produce medusa buds by asexual budding. These medusa buds eventually develop into medusae (young jellyfish) and break free to swim out into the sea.

What is the Function of Gastrozooids in Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

Below the reproductive polyps are the gastrozooids, which are the digestive polyps of the Blue Bottle Jellyfish. It provides food for the whole colony by capturing and ingesting zooplankton. This colony is composed of other parts such as the nonfeeding pedicels, stolons, and gonozooids. 

What is the Function of Dactylozooids in Blue Bottle Jellyfish?

The tentacles of the Blue Bottle Jellyfish are called the dactylozooids. These are the polyps concerned with finding and catching food and transporting their prey.

Where is the Blue Bottle Jellyfish Found?

The Blue Bottle Jellyfish is common throughout Australia. They may also be more frequent in Perth, and Southern Western Australia during autumn and winter. They are usually found on exposed ocean beaches, rather than in sheltered waters. This is due to the northeasterly winds washing them ashore making them the most common cause of jellyfish stings in Perth, Australia.

What to Know About the Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting?

The Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting has caused several fatalities to people living in Perth and throughout Australia. The very young and elderly people allergic to them have shown further complications. These may be avoided by getting more information about the blue bottle jellyfish stings and knowing the first aid practices in this situation.

How Bad is the Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting Situation in Australia?

In Western Australia where Perth belongs, there are an average of 500 blue bottle jellyfish stings each year according to the Australian Museum. This number includes reports from the southern part of Australia. Furthermore, there are an additional 10-30,000 blue bottle jellyfish stings along the east coast of Australia.

How to Avoid a Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting?

Avoiding a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting may be possible by simply not going to a beach in Perth. If you are a beachgoer, you may follow some of the swimming tips below:

  • Look for posted jellyfish warning signs and follow the advice on them.
  • Consider wearing a stinger suit or a wetsuit to prevent jellyfish tentacles from gripping you.
  • Ask the locals or lifeguards about the presence of the Blue Bottle Jellyfish before going to the beach waters.
  • Be informed about the signs and symptoms of a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting and what first aid steps may be done.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting?

Below are some signs and symptoms that may be experienced in case of a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting:

  • A sudden intense burning pain, which may last for up to one hour.
  • The appearance of a swollen and itchy red line on the skin where the tentacles have made contact.
  • Occurrence of blisters which may lead to scarring.

The above-mentioned Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting effects may not be severe. However, these may lead to allergic reactions like anaphylaxis which may be life-threatening. Cases like this occur when the person who got stung has allergies and/or if first aid response is not done immediately.

What is the First Aid Treatment for Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting?

If the above signs and symptoms show, it may indicate a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting. It may be treated immediately with the following first aid steps to avoid a severe reaction:

  1. Have a hot shower or dip the affected part of the skin in hot water for at least 20 minutes. If none of these may be done, do a cold compress instead.
  2. After 20 minutes, have a few seconds of a break from the hot or cold treatment.
  3. Re-immerse the affected skin in the treatment.
  4. Repeat the above steps until the pain stops.
  5. If pain persists and the wound worsens, see a doctor immediately.
  6. If in less than an hour, symptoms of anaphylactic shock occur, calling 000 is advised. An Epinephrine injection may also be done by a certified first aider who may have enrolled in a first aid course in Perth.

Carrying an Epinephrine injector like the EpiPen Auto-Injector is advised for those who have experienced anaphylaxis before.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Anaphylaxis?

The signs and symptoms of Anaphylaxis may occur minutes to hours after a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting which may include:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Flushed or pale skin
  • Low blood pressure
  • Swollen tongue or throat that may lead to wheezing or difficulty in breathing
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

If the above shows after a Blue Bottle Jellyfish sting, immediately calling 000 is advised especially if there is no available Epinephrine injection.

Can Vinegar Be Used as a First Aid Treatment to Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting?

Vinegar is commonly used in first aid management for many jellyfish stings. However, the Blue Bottle Jellyfish is technically a siphonophore and not a jellyfish. So, first aid treatment for its sting may be different from the usual remedy for many jellyfish stings.


The Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting may impose health risks on people who are very young, elderly, and those with existing allergies as it may lead to severe reactions. One is Anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction that may be life-threatening if first aid response is not done immediately. It consists of the first aid steps mentioned above which may be performed properly by a certified first aider. Being one may be achieved by enrolling in a first aid course in Perth and passing the assessment.

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