Marine Stingers, or Box Jellyfish, are large jellyfish with multiple trailing tentacles. Especially active in inshore tropic waters from October to May, they may be present at any time of
The affected area is the northerly coasts from about Gladstone in Queensland to Broome in Western Australia.
Somehow, far less folklore has spread about Australian stingers than about sharks, snakes or even spiders. Yet the jellyfish is a very dangerous creature and treatment must be immediate in
the event of a sting.
Hopefully, you will never even get close to a marine stinger. Surf lifesavers may warn you off infested beaches - make sure you obey their instructions. Some areas offer stinger-resistant
enclosures - use them.
It may be worth investing in the protection of a lycra suit if you intend to spend a lot of time on tropical beaches. But at the very least, be aware of the risks and how to reduce them.
Vinegar kills the stinging cells of the jellyfish, which is why swimmers are encouraged to bring 4 litres of the stuff with them to the beach, as well as broad conforming or crepe bandages.
Flood the stung area (you should see the whip-like tentacle marks) with domestic vinegar for half a minute to render the stings harmless.
If there is no vinegar handy, you can help the victim by picking off any clinging tentacles with tweezers - NOT YOUR FINGERS or you may get stung yourself.
Mouth to mouth resuscitation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation may be necessary because the toxin quickly affects breathing and circulation. It is also necessary to apply a compression
bandage. If live tentacles remain on the body, apply pressure immobilisation only above the sting.