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Paramedic tips for treating ocean bites and stings

Ouch! How to treat ocean bites and stings
Photo: Ouch! How to treat ocean bites and stings
NSW Ambulance has released a list of first aid tips for those bitten and stung at the beach.

Everyone has their own way of treating jellyfish stings, from ice to vinegar to even urine.

But NSW Ambulance paramedics say the solution is much simpler - just add hot water.

Injuries caused by NSW marine life accounted for almost 180 paramedic visits in the period between September 2013 and January 2016, including 75 bluebottle stings and 12 jellyfish stings.

While best treated by rinsing the area and then placing it in hot water, Northern NSW Ambulance inspector Glen Eady said stings had to be monitored closely.

"Blue bottle stings can induce a potential anaphylactic or severe reaction in some people, particularly if there is any immune compromise," Mr Eady said.
"Basic first aid and life support measures should be applied where appropriate and triple zero (000) contacted."

Stingray barbs accounted for 77 call-outs, while paramedics attended 12 shark attacks over the two year period.

HOW TO TREAT BITES AND STINGS:
* Bluebottle/jellyfish: Rinse affected area with seawater, place in hot water
* Stingray: Place in hot water, control bleeding, do not remove barb
* Blue-ringed octopus: Apply pressure immobilisation bandage
* Partially severed limb: Apply direct pressure, protect limb from contamination
* Severed limb: Keep severed limb dry, wrapped and cold, and then place in sealed plastic bag. Place bag into another bag filled with cool water.
* Bleeding: Apply direct pressure.

For information on treating bites in remote settings, click here. 

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