While these jellyfish might look pretty, they should definitely be avoided when you're in the water or on the shore. Bluebottle jellyfish, or Pacific man o’ war as they are also called, resides in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and can be found in the waters around eastern Australia and southwestern Australia. Their tentacles are dangerous and can sting any creature they believe could be a threat, including people.

Symptoms of a sting

  • One of the first signs of a bluebottle jellyfish sting is pain, which can be quite severe. The pain can last up to an hour, though sometimes longer if there were multiple stings.

  • A red line may appear where the sting occurred, it will usually swell and become itchy.

  • Blisters can appear where the person was stung.

What to do if you get stung

  • Stay calm and stay still. Find a place where you can treat the injury, and avoid walking if you're stung on the leg as the venom could spread.

  • Avoid rubbing or itching the site of the sting.

  • Keep rinsing the area carefully with water.

  • Immersing the wound in hot water can help to kill the protein in the venom that causes pain. The water temperature should ideally be around 42 degrees (107F).

  • A cold pack or cold water may also help to ease the pain if no hot water is available.

  • A pain reliever may also be taken to provide comfort.

  • If you're still experiencing pain, itchiness or swelling, you should visit a doctor who can provide you with further treatment. If you're unsure what stung you in the first place, it's best to visit a doctor for evaluation.

How to avoid jellyfish

Make sure you keep a lookout in the water and on the beach for any bluebottle jellyfish that might be around. If you've found one washed up on the shore, give it a wide berth, and if you can wear shoes while walking along the beach. Avoid swimming in the sea when warning signs about jellyfish are displayed.

You can contact one of Sonder's team members 24/7 if you have any questions about jellyfish stings. If you are stung in tropical waters and experience extreme pain, breathing problems, nausea, vomiting or sweating, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime, in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Healthline and HealthDirect.

Image credit: Morgan Talbot

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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