Bluebottles Invade Phuket – How To Treat A Sting!


Dangerous jellyfish known commonly as Bluebottles or Portuguese man’o War have been washing up on Phuket’s beaches for the past week or so causing much consternation and fear among beach users and authorities.

The Bluebottles have also been causing much confusion among many people with some experts saying that vinegar should be used to treat a sting. The fact is that vinegar should NOT be used to treat a bluebottle sting.

Here is what to do if stung by a Bluebottle:

  • Keep the victim at rest, reassure and keep under constant observation
  • Do not allow rubbing of the sting area.
  • Pick off any tentacles (this is not dangerous to the rescuer) and rinse sting area well with seawater to remove invisible nematocysts
  • Place the victim’s stung area in hot water (no hotter than the rescuer can comfortably tolerate) for 20 minutes.
  • If local pain is unrelieved by heat, or if hot water is not available, apply a cold pack or ice in a dry plastic bag.
  • If pain persists or is generalised, if the sting area is large (half of a limb or more), or involves sensitive areas (eg the eye) call an ambulance and seek assistance from a lifesaver/lifeguard if available.

Until recently tropical and non-tropical Bluebottle stings were treated differently. The Australian Resuscitation Council’s latest guidelines recommend that vinegar NOT be used for any species of Bluebottle (Physalia physalis in Australia and Physalia utriculus in South-East Asia) whether in the tropics or temparate climate and the above procedure be strictly applied.



One response to “Bluebottles Invade Phuket – How To Treat A Sting!

  1. My so was stung by s jellyfish off koh ngai last week. He is fine, would like to discuss some things with you after reading your blog. Can you please email me. Regards

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