The first aid treatment for a blue bottle jellyfish sting is seawater and/or hot water according to Healthdirect, an Australian government-supported information service. Healthdirect further states that blue bottles are the most common cause of painful stings among the other types of jellyfish found in the country. So, a blue bottle jellyfish sting may only be one of the incidents you may encounter when you swim on Perth beaches and for lifeguards to attend to. Since lifeguards may be the available responder to stings and other beach-related accidents, they are required to possess qualifications in performing first aid practices and other rescue-related skills. Businesses that are located near beaches may also need to have representatives of their company be trained with first aid as mandated by the law. It states that workers and others must be provided with immediate and effective first aid treatment if they get injured or become ill at the workplace.
Do’s in First Aid Treatment for Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting
Healthidrect has listed the three to-dos in performing a first aid treatment for a blue bottle jellyfish sting. Each to-do has its recommended first aid solution, so you may follow according to what’s available to you.
Dont’s in First Aid Treatment for Blue Bottle Jellyfish Sting
Healthdirect does not advise using vinegar in performing first aid management for blue bottle jellyfish sting as it may only increase the pain. However, vinegar may be used in treating stings of other jellyfish. So, it may be helpful to watch out for the effects of a sting as it may differ in every type of jellyfish. The symptoms of each jellyfish sting have also been outlined by Healthdirect. Being able to identify what a blue bottle jellyfish looks like may also help you know if it is the type of jellyfish that sting you.
The Appearance of a Blue Bottle Jellyfish
The head (also called the float) of a blue bottle jellyfish is described to have the following appearance by the Australian Museum:
- Bottle or pear-shaped sac.
- Mainly blue but may also have shades of green or pink.
- Is connected to its other parts that are also blue.
The Australian Museum has been Australia’s hub of information, resources, and research since its establishment in 1827.
Why It’s Important to Identify a Blue Bottle Jellyfish
Even though blue bottle jellyfish have been identified by Healthdirect to be the top cause of stings in the country, their stings may not need emergency medical treatment. It may not even need a doctor’s check-up. So, it is important to identify if it is the type of jellyfish that sting you as others may cause dangerous reactions that may even cause death. Find out how you may differentiate a blue bottle jellyfish sting from others through this link.
Responding to the Stings of Other Jellyfish
How to Perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Healthdirect has released tutorial videos on performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on:
Healthdirect’s guide also recommends enrollment in CPR training so responding to emergencies like stings may be done easier. Anyone may do so and certain professionals may be required to follow the recommendation especially if the first aid skills acquired from the training may be needed to apply at work. An example is a lifeguard who may be assigned to public beaches and beach-close businesses to be the first aid responder to incidents like stings. As such, lifeguards are required to possess first aid qualifications.
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:
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:
- 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.
- After 20 minutes, have a few seconds of a break from the hot or cold treatment.
- Re-immerse the affected skin in the treatment.
- Repeat the above steps until the pain stops.
- If pain persists and the wound worsens, see a doctor immediately.
- 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:
- Flushed or pale skin
- Low blood pressure
- Swollen tongue or throat that may lead to wheezing or difficulty in breathing
- Weak and rapid pulse
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.