29 Sep 2016
Saturday marks the official start of the stinger season in Top End waters.
Centre for Disease Control Community Physician, Dr Steve Skov said, while box jellyfish were present in seas off the Top End coast all year round their numbers increased dramatically between October and May.
“Adult box jelly fish can have up to 40 tentacles, with some up to two metres long. Each tentacle is loaded with venom,” Dr Skov said.
“Anyone who has had the misfortune of being stung by a box jellyfish will tell you the experience is excruciatingly painful.
“Box jellyfish also have the potential to kill.
“Because of their size small children are at the greatest risk of death from the venom of a box jellyfish sting and parents should make sure they keep right away from the sea water,” Dr Skov said.
About 40 people a year present to health facilities with box jellyfish stings.
“It is best to avoid entering the sea over the next eight months. But if you can’t avoid it, then ensure you are well protected with a long-sleeved shirt, long trousers and socks.”
Box jellyfish prefer calm conditions near the water’s edge as well as tidal creeks.
“So, letting the kids paddle along the water’s edge is definitely not safe and kids have been stung in that way.”
“You can often see box jellyfish around boat ramps so take extra care when launching your boat”
If you are on hand when someone is stung you should act immediately by:
Calling for help (call triple zero)
Dousing the immediate area of the injury with vinegar, if it is available
Pulling off any tentacles attached to the skin of the victim
Promptly getting the person to hospital
If a sting is severe, it may be necessary to perform CPR.
Media contact: Fred McCue 0401 119 792