Three swimmers hit by marine stingers in the Whitsundays
UPDATE: THREE people have been treated for "marine stings" in the Whitsundays, but none of the patients needed to be taken to hospital, reports RACQ CQ Rescue.
A spokeswoman for the service said the rescue helicopter which had been scrambled to Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island to help had "just got back to base" about 1pm.
Helicopter crew members told the spokeswoman the three people - potentially tourists - who were stung were not seriously injured, and did require air transport.
INITIAL, 12.50pm: THREE people have suffered "marine stings" in the Whitsundays, according to RACQ CQ Rescue.
The rescue service took to Twitter late on Saturday morning, reporting it had been tasked to treat and transport three patients who have suffered marine stings at Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven beach - a popular tourist attraction - is located on Whitsunday Island off the coast of Airlie Beach, and is often described as one of the world's best beaches thanks to its pure white sand and crystal clear water.
"RACQ CQ Rescue now headed to world-famous Whitehaven Beach to treat and transfer 3 patients with marine stings," the tweet read.
It comes after Mackay Hospital and Health Service issued a warning about box and irukandji jellyfish after three children were treated for large stinger welts on their skin at Bowen Hospital on Thursday.
A potentially deadly box jellyfish was also found on the shores of Bucasia Beach in the Mackay region on Thursday.
Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club shared a photo on Facebook of the jellyfish which was discovered.
Bowen Hospital's senior medical officer, Dr Michael Reinke, has urged swimmers to wear protective clothing, such as a stinger suit.
He also advised beach-goers to swim only in patrolled areas, and preferably with someone who's well-versed in first aid.
RACQ CQ Rescue will be contacted for more information about the latest reported incident.
Marine stingers can be found in tropical Queensland waters year round, but they do present a higher risk during stinger season, from November to May.
How to help if someone has been stung
- If safe, immediately remove a stung patient from the water and follow the DRSABCD of first aid.
- Dial 000 if at all necessary and seek help from the nearest surf lifesaver or lifeguard, if available.
- Assess the sting victim and start CPR if needed.
- Treat the sting with vinegar for at least 30 seconds (unless it's a bluebottle sting), which will kill stinging cells.
- Follow up with a cold or ice pack for pain relief.
- The victim must be taken to hospital as soon as possible in serious cases. Otherwise, seek alternate medical advice.
- Anti-venom for box jellyfish is available at hospitals and ambulance stations in tropical coastal areas.