"Regional risks #1 - Sea Wasps in the far north" Australia Warnings Or Dangers Tip by tiabunna
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Actually, we?re talking about a range of jellyfish types found in tropical waters around the north of Australia, but sea wasps is a commonly used name. Nasty beasts. In terms of toxicity, they rank way above any snake and can kill in under five minutes (after the victim first suffers excruciating pain). The main culprit is the Box Jellyfish (Chironex Fleckeri) which is almost invisible in the ocean, but can have up to 60 tentacles of up to 3 metres length. Get yourself wrapped in just one or two of those tentacles and it?s probably goodbye. From all accounts, if you're stung the pain will make you wish for an early end. An antivenom is available ? if you can reach it in time! In the past 20 years, they have killed about 70 people.
Avoidance is the best answer. They are found in tropical northern Australia in the months between October and May, so be very careful if you wish to go swimming in the ocean then: swim only at patrolled beaches and watch for warning flags; do not run or dive into the water; supervise children; and wear protective clothing (believe it or not, pantihose will provide protection). If someone is stung, the best immediate treatment is to douse with vinegar - but being careful not to contact the tentacles yourself.
Personally, if I was in northern Australia in summer (and I?d strongly suggest that?s not the time to be there) I?d be quite happy to just sit alongside some hotel pool with a cool drink and let others risk these things!
The Australian Institute of Marine Science website has more information :
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