Due to the sheer number of insects, marine animals, and animals that can give us bites and stings, it’s important to know how to treat these injuries properly as one insect bite treatment may not work for a sting from a different insect or animal.

Sonder’s team of trained nurses and medical professionals are always available to help you whenever you need advice on what to do so you’ll never have to worry. If you’re not sure how serious the injury is and you’d like one of our team to assess the situation, you can start a chat with us via the home screen on the Sonder app. You’ll also be able to describe the injury in greater detail and share photos - To upload a photo to our nurses, just use the camera icon in the chat function of the Sonder app.

For more information, here’s a guide on the various treatments for a range of different bites and stings that may occur.


Pressure bandaging and immobilisation

Suitable for any snake bite (including sea snakes), funnel-web spider and mouse spider bites, blue-ringed octopus bites, and cone shell stings.

  1. If the bite or sting is on a limb, apply a broad pressure bandage (crepe preferred) over the bite site.

  2. Apply a firm heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandage (10–15 centimetres wide) starting just above the fingers or toes, and moving upwards on the bitten limb as far as can be reached.

  3. Apply the bandage as tightly as possible to the limb.

  4. Immobilise the bandaged limb using splints.

  5. Seek medical aid and call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Vinegar

Suitable for box jellyfish; Irukandji, morbakka and jimble jellyfish, or other tropical jellyfish sting.

  1. Immediately flood the entire stung area with lots of vinegar for at least 30 seconds. DO NOT use fresh water or urine.

  2. If pain relief is required, apply a cold pack only after vinegar has been applied.

  3. Urgently seek medical aid at a hospital if symptoms are severe. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Hot water

Suitable for bluebottle jellyfish and other nontropical jellyfish stings; stinging fish (e.g. stonefish, lionfish, bullrout); stingray, crown-of-thorns starfish, sea urchin. DO NOT use on suspected box jellyfish or Irukandji stings.

  1. Check the water to ensure it is as hot as you can comfortably tolerate before treating the patient.

  2. Place the stung area in hot water for 20 minutes—help move the patient under a hot shower, place a stung hand or foot in hot water, or pour hot water over the stung area. Do not burn the patient.

  3. Remove briefly before reimmersing.

  4. Continue this cycle if pain persists.

  5. Urgently seek medical aid at a hospital if symptoms are severe. Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Cold pack

Suitable for red-back spider or other spider bite; bee, wasp or ant sting; tick bite; scorpion or centipede sting; jellyfish sting.

  1. Apply a cold pack to the bitten or stung area for 15 minutes and reapply if pain continues.

  2. The cold pack should be changed when necessary to maintain the same level of coldness.

  3. Seek medical aid if the pain worsens. 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: St John Ambulance Australia.

Image credit: Porapak Apichodilok at Pexels

All content in Sonder's Help Centre is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.

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