How To Treat Bluebottle Stings – Sydney’s Most Annoying Sea Creatures!

Blue bottle text

Yes, these stings were as painful as they look.

Ouchy ouch!

Bluebottles are commonly found on Sydney beaches, and indeed, around all of Australia.

The official name for these marine maniacs is physalia. But I much prefer the name I learned as a child Portuguese man o’ war.

bluebottle stings on legs Sydney

These jellyfish aren’t found in Scotland but we grew up with dreadful images of them, and the sure knowledge that, if you were ever stung, you were a goner.

Not true at all!

Luckily for me, most bluebottle stings are not too serious, though they can be very painful. (But there are rare exceptions – see below.)

bluebottle stings on thigh Sydney

bluebottles sign on beach

You’ll see this sign up at Sydney beaches when there are bluebottles around. Thanks Carolyn from Desire Empire for this lovely photo.

These nasty stings that I got last summer were ENTIRELY my own fault. I saw lots of bluebottles washed up on the beach, so I knew that If I swam I’d be asking for a sting.  But I just couldn’t resist the lure of an ocean swim.

These stings really were sore at the time, but I just showered and then they weren’t too bed and didn’t itch TOO much. Most bluebottle stings will be in long welts like mine, caused by the trailing long tentacles.

Treating Bluebottle Stings

Modern treatments for bluebottle stings around our Sydney beaches do not involve papaya, vinegar or urine.

Rinse the stung area with seawater, it’s fine to pick tentacles off with the fingers.

Rinse with warm to comfortably hot water, or soak if that’s possible.

If the person stung is a child, or has asthma or allergies it may be adviasable to visit a doctor as rare cases of severe breathing difficulties have occurred.

If any swelling occurs around stings to the face or throat, call an ambulance immediately.

Have you survived a sting from one of these savage jellyfish?

Can you share a top tip?

Happy swimmingSignature

I’ve also been bitten by leeches and stung by sea lice, see those posts for tips on prevention and what to do if not prevented.

What’s next, I wonder…. err…..








Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Print Friendly
Please Share This Post!


  1. Ouchy!!! That sting looks horrible. I’ve been stung a few times too and it’s not nice at all. Last summer my little Hollie got stung on her bottom – what a drama that was!!

    • Seana Smith says:

      Poor Hollie! My kids haven’t been stung yet, I can’t imagine the volume their yells would reach though… must pay good care this summer.

  2. Owwy, that looks painful!!
    I haven’t had a sting since I was a kid thankfully, although I do avoid the water when I see them washed up on the beach :0!

    • Seana Smith says:

      I’ll be doing that next year! I used to have a stretchy lycra suit for when I went diving in stingery waters… where’s that gone to> Haven’t seen it for about 15 years but one of those would be handy some days.

  3. Yes, these are the curse of the beaches. I’ve been stung and it’s very painful. My poor Alfie had a shocking sting a few years ago. I did the surf lifesaving course a few years ago and they said the best treatment was to stand in the shower and put hot water on the sting as hot as you can tolerate and stay under the hot water for as long as possible. The hot water will dilate your veins and spread the sting through your blood stream dispersing the sting. That is apparently all you can do – after that it’s just a matter of time healing all wounds xx

  4. I haven’t been stung for years, but it sure does hurt when it happens. They usually come into Sydney Beaches on a Nor Easter. When that happens we stick to the pools.

    • Seana Smith says:

      At least we usually do have the warnings on the beach when they are around, seeing the washed up ones as well as the signs.

Speak Your Mind


... and you’re keen to explore Sydney and far, far beyond, sign up for my weekly email newsletter. You'll find news and offers just for subscribers, and you'll get a copy of Seana's ebook 'Sydney's Best Beaches For Kids.' absolutely free.