Warm water brings out the stingersout the stingers

By NATALIE PEUTnataliep@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

IT'S stinger season and swimmers are being warned to keep to the patrolled areas.

Agnes Water's seasonal lifesaver Tony McCaig said the Agnes Water Beach was closed again on Sunday because of the Irukandji jelly fish.

'The recent northerly winds and northerly swell has been an indication for a while that the jelly fish were on their way,' he said.

'Because of the wind it has warmed the ocean to around 28 degrees, so I have been expecting them for quite some time now.'

Tony said the lifesavers were required to test the water.

'We saw a number of micro-organisms which is what the jelly fish feed on,' he said.

'They feed on a micro-organism called salp.'

He said when the lifesaver used a jelly fish designed stinger net around six Irukandji jelly fish were found.

'We caught about six yesterday, they are very small about 5mm in diametre,'' he said.

"The Irukandji bite is very serious.

"Most people need to be hospitalised for the night, most grown adults find they have back pain, muscle cramps, cardiac problems and the body is in extreme pain.

'The reactions are always very different depending of the person's level of fitness and health.

"If you start to feel these symptoms it's important to contact the ambulance as soon as possible.

'The problem with Irukandji stings is that the symptoms don't start till much later after the bite.'

He said it was so important for swimmers to swim between the flags.

'It's all the stingers, there is less likely a chance to be stung if you swim in the lifesavers' designated area,' Tony said.

'We have to test the water to en-sure it's safe for swimmmers, and we are there to provide first aid if a sting was to occur.'

Tony said a number of other stingers will be out there including the box jelly fish, blue bottle jelly fish, sea wasps and sea lice.

'The blue bottle jelly fish is quite common in the area,' he said.

"The blue bottle sting can be relieved with an ice or cold pack, and you can easily get back in the water afterwards.'

Tony said the box jelly fish was dangerous like the Irukandji jelly fish.

'The vinegar will simply remove the tentacles to stop any further venom entering the body,' he said.

'It was important to let a life guard know so they are able to contact the ambulance, and do the necessary first aid for the sting.

'It's a very serious sting, and you will be hospitalised.

'The reaction for the box jelly fish sting could including respite problems, and you will be screaming in pain.

'It feels like you have been whipped with hot wire or electrocuted.'

Local Carl Chapman was concerned with the number of jelly fish he sighted on Sunday.

Carl said during his walk along the marina, he and his wife spotted at least 12 or more box jelly fish swimming in the water.

'There were so many of them and the biggest we saw was a 7mm across the cube,' he said.

"It certainly deters you from swimming at the moment.

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