Painful jellyfish lurk on Far South Coast

SWIMMERS and surf lifesavers from Narooma to Tathra are starting to encounter jellyfish capable of nasty stings not normally seen in local waters.

There is some conjecture as to whether these jellyfish are either fire or hair jellyfish, both similar and relatives to the more deadly box jellyfish encountered in Australia’s tropical waters.

Far South Coast director of lifesaving Andrew Edmunds said Tathra Surf Life Saving Club has reported four cases of the jellyfish stings, which cause a severe and painful reaction in the victim.

There was a also a report of seven children between the ages of seven and 11 receiving multiple stings from an unknown cause while playing in waist deep water at Glasshouse Rocks beach at Narooma on Tuesday.

Witnesses report no bluebottles were visible at the time, and although painful, the effects wore off over half an hour with no treatment necessary.

“It is believed the warm currents we have been experiencing may have brought the stingers into our region,” Mr Edmunds said.

“Symptoms of such stings are much more intense than bluebottle stings.

“Unlike a bluebottle, the fire jelly can sting you multiple times, creating intolerable pain.”

Recommended treatment required for fire jellyfish stings should you find yourself or someone else suffering the symptoms:

* Observe Patient airway, breathing and response

* Make sure the patient rests and reassure them

* Send for an ambulance or medical aid

* Flood the stung area with vinegar for 30 seconds minimum.

There is speculation that the Tathra SLSC may have misidentified the jellyfish and the Far South Coast surf lifesaving branch has sought further information from the NSW SLSC’s state director of education.

The culprits could also be the hair jellyfish, which is quite similar to the fire jelly in terms of the type of sting.

The treatment for hair jellyfish is:

* Remove any tentacles

* Wash area with sea water (not freshwater)

* Apply Cold pack for 10 minutes

* Re-apply if pain persists

* Send for medical aid if symptoms persist.

In the meantime, all lifeguards are being asked to be vigilant and record and report all incidents of jellyfish stings.

Possible culprits:

 According to a CRC Reef Research Centre credited website (http://olivier.pingot.free.fr/dossiers%20scientifiques/jstinging%20jellyfish/stinging_jellyfish_13.htm)

 Cyanea: Commonly called the hair jelly or lion's mane jellyfish. It can be up to 400mm across the bell and has many hair-like tentacles which can be up to 500mm long. The hair jelly is found in coastal waters throughout Australia. The sting is unpleasant.

 Fire jelly, Morbakka or Moreton Bay stinger: Often erroneously called Tamoya (which do not occur in Australia); At least 3 undescribed species. 60-80mm wide; One flattened tentacle up to 1 m long in each corner of bell; Found from Port Douglas, Queensland to Sydney, NSW

POSSIBLE CULPRIT: One of the possible culprits is the hair jellyfish.

POSSIBLE CULPRIT: One of the possible culprits is the hair jellyfish.

FIRE JELLY: The other suspected culprit is the fire jellyfish.

FIRE JELLY: The other suspected culprit is the fire jellyfish.