TYRIQUE Tomarra is lucky to be alive after being severely stung by a box jellyfish.
The seven-year-old boy was stung on the legs while swimming with his family at Bucasia Beach on Sunday.
Numerous marks criss-crossing his legs are a powerful reminder of how dangerous box jellyfish are.
He was one of three children treated for jellyfish stings on Sunday.
Tyrique spent was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit before being transferred to the ward and then released yesterday.
Emergency Department Dr Shane Brun said an early dose of antivenom on the way to the hospital may have saved Tyrique's life.
"Box jellyfish are lethal - people can die," Dr Brun said.
"The pain is significant and distressing and can leave to heart and breathing problems. Fortunately he received box jellyfish antivenom very quickly and that most likely saved his life because once symptoms start it's a rapid progression to collapse and cardiac arrest."
Box jellyfish, commonly called stingers in northern Australia, are found from October to May in coastal waters off tropical Australia, from Bundaberg in Queensland around to Geraldton in Western Australia. If you visit this area during these months, please take extreme care if swimming.
Effects of Box jellyfish stings
- Neurotoxic - can cause severe respiratory distress.
- Severe stinging and reddening of skin.
Signs and symptoms of Box jellyfish stings
- Immediate burning pain to the skin.
- Savage, multiple whip weals with a frosted ladder pattern in the sting marks.
- Adherent tentacles on the skin are usually present.
- Irrational behaviour due to pain.
- In major stings there can be:
- cessation of breathing
- cardiac arrest.
Management of Box jellyfish stings
- Carefully remove the casualty from the water.
- Avoid rubbing the sting area.
- Immediately douse the sting area with vinegar for at least 30 seconds.
- If vinegar is not available, carefully remove tentacles off skin and rinse well with seawater.
- Call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
- Regularly monitor and record the casualty's pulse and breathing.
- Begin resuscitation if necessary.
- Anti-venom is available.