Box jellies close beaches
SWIMMERS have been urged to wear stinger suits after four deadly box jellyfish were found at two beaches in the Mackay region at the weekend.
Eimeo Beach was closed until yesterday afternoon after two box jellyfish were found by lifesavers conducting net drags through the swimming area at the weekend.
Two box jellyfish were also found at Sarina.
This comes as six people were taken to Mackay Base Hospital with jellyfish stings over Easter.
Three teenagers were taken to hospital after being stung on their hands and face at Blacks Beach on Friday. One of the trio, a 15-year-old girl, was in hospital overnight.
On Saturday, sisters aged 10 and 12, who were also at Blacks Beach, were treated for marine stings. And on Sunday a three-year-old girl was stung at Ball Bay.
Finding four box jellyfish in one weekend is not unusual, according to Surf Life Saving Queensland North Barrier branch regional manager Peter Roulston.
"We're definitely at the peak part of the season, where we're expecting to find fully grown specimens," he said.
The stinger season runs from November to May.
Associate Professor Jamie Seymour, who works for Queensland Tropical Health Alliance and has studied the deadly jellyfish, says it was vital people wore stinger suits.
"Anytime you're in the water, you should have a stinger suit on," he said.
"The jellyfish are there; it's just a matter of if they're where you are swimming."
Mr Seymour said the chances of being stung were "very very small" and wearing a stinger suit was like putting on a seatbelt in a car.
On average, there was one death a year from deadly jellyfish in Australia, he said.
About 200 people a year were hospitalised from irukundji stings.
Mr Roulston said stinger suits were vital to survival because "the more tentacles you've got on you, the worse you are."
Box jellyfish like calm water close to shore
Irukandji stings cause severe back, abdominal, limb or joint pain, nausea and vomiting within 30 minutes
If stung, douse the area with vinegar and seek medical attention