Overall First Aid Management

No one nationwide recommendation for first aid can be made because of the difference between jellyfish around Australia.  In most cases, first aiders are unlikely to be able to identify the specific jellyfish.

In the tropics, because of the risk that the victim has been stung by a potentially life threatening jellyfish, your priority is to preserve life.

Outside the tropics, where huge numbers of non life-threatening stings occur, the primary object is to relieve the victim’s pain by using heat or cold.

Tropical Australia Management

  • D.R.S.A.B.C.D. and call an ambulance
  • Remove the victim from the water
  • Assess the victim and commence resuscitation as necessary
  • Liberally apply vinegar to the stung area for 30 seconds to neutralize invisible stinging cells, and then pick off remaining tentacles
  • If vinegar is unavailable, pick off any tentacles (this is not harmful to the rescuer) and rinse the sting well with sea water
  • Apply a cold pack, so not allow or apply fresh water onto the sting because it may discharge any remaining capsules.

Non-Tropical Australia Management

  • Keep the victim at rest, reassure and keep under constant observation
  • Do not allow rubbing of the sting area
  • Pick off any tentacles (this is not dangerous to the rescuer) and rinse the sting area well with sea water
  • Place the victims stung area in hot water (no hotter than the rescuer can comfortably tolerate) for 20 minutes
  • If local pain is unrelieved by heat, or if hot water is unavailable, apply a cold pack
  • If pain persists or is generalised, if the sting area is large, or involves sensitive areas call an ambulance.