Danger lurks in the northern seas of Australia, with one of the biggest threats to humans being so tiny it is almost invisible. The Irukandji jellyfish is small, around 25 mm, yet it packs a huge amount of poison and can cause death if treatment is not provided.
Living in the beautiful Whitsundays the sea becomes your playground. Age is no barrier playing in the turquoise waters. Snorkeling, fishing and diving all all part of the relaxed lifestyle of both young and old. Most locals stay out of the water after heavy rain as Box Jellyfish are more prevalent during the wet season. Yet the nasty little Irukandji as yet has not been studied to find a season when it arrives in our waters or for that matter, when it departs.
A friend of the families son was stung by a jellyfish yesterday near Yeppoon, which is quite a way south of the Whitsundays. Luckily his father was aware of the symptons of the Irukandji Sydrome and took him to hospital for treatment. He is recovering and should be fine.
Whenever we snorkel we use stinger suits. You should also wear these unattractive suits when swimming anywhere along Queensland beaches from Bundaberg north between October and April. They may be unattractive yet could save your life.
An Irunkandji sting doesn’t initially hurt. Around 30 minutes after being stung a victim will experience excruciating back pain, headache, chest pains and shooting pains in their muscles and abdomen. They may also feel nauseous, anxious and perhaps vomit. There is to date no anti venom, yet hospital care will deal with most stings successfully.
Some years only one or two people are stung by Irukandji Jellyfish. There was one year where over two hundred stings were reported.
Do yourself a favor. By all means enjoy the waters of North Queensland but wear protective stinger suits. Go all the way and include a hood and gloves as part of the protection. You may never get stung but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.