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Guide to common bites and stings in southeast Queensland

Though we are lucky here in southeast Queensland that we don’t have the stinger season that our northern neighbours have, we still need to be aware that there are nasties around that can really hurt. Here’s a quick guide on how to treat bites and stings you might encounter.


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Common bites and stings and how to treat them

Bluebottles (Pacific Man o’ War)

This tiny jellyfish can cause havoc on a busy beach. Responsible for up to 10,000 stings in Australia each summer, the bluebottle sting is painful and leaves whip-like red welts. Dead bluebottles can also dish out a nasty sting (including those washed to shore) so don’t be fooled.

To treat a bluebottle sting, Apply salt water or hot water to the site immediately. Medical attention may be necessary if the pain increases or a feeling of illness develops, so always get checked out if in doubt.

Mosquito bites

Yuk, mozzies are the worst. Particularly if you are ‘that’ person that everyone loves to have around because you get bitten and everyone else gets away itch-free. Though allergic reactions to the actual bite are rare, mozzie bites are itchy, annoying, and can carry diseases such as Ross River virus and Zika virus in south-east Queensland. So cover up and use insect repellent whenever out at dusk/dawn or in a mozzie-prone area.

Bee stings

Hands up who totally freaks as soon as a bee enters the room?! If you are stung and the stinger is still in the skin, gently try and remove it by scraping it with a fingernail (don’t use tweezers as it can release more venom). Wash the area with soap and water and use an ice-pack for pain relief.

Bee stings are the most common triggers of anaphylaxis from insect stings, so be wary and seek urgent medical attention if any symptoms present such as swelling of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, a rash, feeling weak, or stomach cramps.

When eating outdoors, always check open food and drink containers before you eat or drink as bees and wasps have a tendency to sneak inside.


Shudder. The thought of these make anyone’s skin crawl! Usually found in the bush in south-east Queensland, ticks can attach to your skin and stay there until removed. Wear loose, light-coloured clothing when out in the bush and use DEET insect repellent.

If are unfortunate enough to get a tick, gently pull it out using tweezers and apply antiseptic cream to the area. Seek medical attention if a fever develops, if you develop muscle weakness or show any signs of infection.

Caterpillar stings

They are cute, furry, and all kids love to pick them up and have them crawl up their arm!  But unfortunately this cute and cuddly hungry friend can also have very ouchy hairs. If you do get stung, remove any visible hairs with tweezers and use sticky tape to remove any finer hairs you cannot get with the tweezers. Don’t scratch or rub, it will just push the stinging hairs deeper into the skin. Watch for a rash or any reaction and get medical attention if any worrying signs present. Educate children that, though cute, caterpillars are not to be picked up with fingers. They are happier being left alone on their leaves!

For more information, check out this handy symptom checker for help on when to seek medical attention.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your or your child’s personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. It is not personalised health advice and should not be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.


Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids events, attractions & things to do with kids, schools and education, school holiday guides, health & wellbeing for families, parenting and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.



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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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