Yes, these bluebottle stings were as painful as they look. I have had a few and have learned over the years the best way to treat a bluebottle sting. Here follow my top tips.
Bluebottles are commonly found on Sydney beaches, and indeed, around all of Australia. The official name for these marine maniacs is physalia utriculus. But I much prefer the name Pacific man o’ war.
NB People often spell the name blue bottle, and might be searching for how to treat blue bottle stings. But the name is just one word, bluebottle.
The bluebottles are related to the Portugese man-o-war which I heard about a lot as a child. That one is the Physalia physalis and is found in the Atlantic ocean. As kids, we used to believe that if you were stung by one, you were a goner.
Not true at all!
Luckily for me, most bluebottle stings are not too serious, though they can be very painful. (But there are rare exceptions – see below.)
These nasty stings that I got last summer were ENTIRELY my own fault. I saw lots of bluebottles washed up on the beach, so I knew that If I swam I’d be asking for a sting. But I just couldn’t resist the lure of an ocean swim.
These stings really were sore at the time, but I just showered and then they weren’t too bed and didn’t itch TOO much. Most bluebottle stings will be in long welts like mine, caused by the trailing long tentacles.
Treating Bluebottle Stings
Modern treatments for bluebottle stings around our Sydney beaches do not involve papaya, vinegar or urine.
Rinse the stung area with seawater, it’s fine to pick tentacles off with the fingers.
Rinse with warm to comfortably hot water, or soak if that’s possible.
If the person stung is a child, or has asthma or allergies it may be adviasable to visit a doctor as rare cases of severe breathing difficulties have occurred.
If any swelling occurs around stings to the face or throat, call an ambulance immediately.
Bluebottles are common on Sydney beaches in summer. There are sometimes lots of them in the sea and washed up on the beaches, brought by north east winds and on warmer currents. But most summer days, there are none around and you do not run the risk of being stung.
Have you survived a sting from one of these savage jellyfish?
Can you share a top tip?
What’s next, I wonder…. err…..