Urgent warning for Qld swimmers after spike in Irukandji jellyfish stings

Queensland Ambulance have issued an urgent safety warning following a spike in Irukandji sting incidents in Queensland in recent days.

Majority of the stings have been in waters off Fraser Island, with paramedics being called to the popular holiday destination three times yesterday.

Since Wednesday, four people have been hospitalied with suspected Irukandji stings, prompting the safety warning.


Queensland Ambulance supervisor Martin Kelly said that the danger with Irukandji is that victims often don’t notice they have been stung until about an hour later.

“The thing with an Irukandji is that there’s often a significant delay before symptoms start to show.”

“It averages around 30 minutes, however in recent cases its been about an hour after the sting.”

“After being stung by an Irukandji people become very ill. They become restless, nauseous, start vomiting and their heart rate begins to increase. They can often suffer severe chest and back pains as well.”

Mr Kelly said there have been deaths recorded from the Irukandji jellyfish, which are particularly small and hard to see.

Queensland Ambulance have given a few tips on what people should and shouldn’t do if they are stung:


Call an ambulance early.

Keep the victim calm.

Use ice and cold packs.

Use vinegar in copious amounts. If vinegar isn’t available, use sea water.


Use anything with alcohol in it.

Irukandji jellyfish are the smallest and most venomous box jellyfish in the world.