Thousands of Beachgoers Stung in Bluebottle Jellyfish Ambush

A bluebottle jellyfish washed-up on Surfer's Paradise beach

While the vast majority of those stings are not life-threatening and were caused by so-called bluebottle colonies, researchers say that the number of more serious injuries from less common jellyfish is also at above average levels.

Unusually strong northeasterly swell conditions pushed the bluebottles onshore and they are clumped in their thousands along the shoreline.

And swimmers are not the only ones at risk - even those walking along the beach were warned not to pick up the jellyfish and to watch their step.

No fatalities have been confirmed and for most people the stings are harmless - albeit painful - but they can cause problems for those with allergies, as well as the young and the elderly.

Bluebottle invasion. Picture: Bob Barker.

"People have been hurt as they just walk along the shoreline,"Sturges said". Side effects of a bluebottle sting include intense skin pain lasting from minutes to hours, nausea and vomiting. "If stung, remove stingers, take a very hot shower, and apply ice". The association are warning beach goers to be extra vigilant in the sea and perhaps stay out of the water altogether, especially children or people who are allergic.

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Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Service director Lisa-Ann Gershwin told the ABC the striking blue jellyfish lived in armadas in the middle of the ocean and had a keel-like crest and trailing tentacles.

Most of the encounters happened in the popular Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions.

"They are also appearing at beaches in New South Wales, Victoria and Tassie - we've been getting them in a lot of places".

"When you look at a bluebottle, and you see the bubble and the blue fringes and the long blue tentacles, that is actually a colony, that is not an individual", he said.

"Some of the bluebottle sails are right-handed and some are left-handed, across the body, so when the wind comes up it only grabs the ones with the sail going the right way for that particular breeze".

Not a beachgoer's best friend.

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