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Jellyfish stings can happen when you are swimming in the sea and can be extremely painful.

There are at least three types of jellyfish in New Zealand known to cause stings.

Even tiny jellyfish can sting and, because they are so small and almost transparent, they can get trapped unnoticed in swimwear, or in people’s hair, while swimming. As a swimmer gets out of the sea, water drains from the swimwear and traps the jellyfish between the fabric and the skin, causing the stinging cells to release their toxin.

The rash may not appear until hours after contact with jellyfish, often after the person has left the sea. The rash becomes itchy and sore, and can vary from mild to severe, lasting up to a week or more. Children, and those with allergic reactions, are most at risk of severe reactions and can become unwell for several days with headaches, and feel sick and tired.

Follow the instructions on the Ministry of Health website.

Let Safeswim at Auckland Council know which beach you got the rash by phoning (09) 301-0101.

  • Check Auckland Council’s Safeswim website for beaches affected by jellyfish.
  • Avoid swimming in baggy clothes, instead wear smaller, fitted swimwear such as bikinis or speedos, as these trap fewer tiny jellyfish.
  • Do not dry yourself with a towel after swimming if you think you may have been affected, as this activates the stings.
  • When you get home, thoroughly wash your swimwear, as jellyfish can sting even when dead.
  • Remove your swimwear and if possible, shower immediately. A saltwater shower is best, although a freshwater shower is almost as good.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service supports Auckland Council with messages regarding health and safety on beaches and when swimming.

ARPHS is a partner with Auckland Council for the Safeswim programme, which publishes information about the health risks from popular Auckland region beaches. The information on the Safeswim website is updated regularly and covers water quality, advice about sun protection, beach hazards, dangerous animal sightings and tidal conditions.

Follow the instructions on the Ministry of Health website.

Let Safeswim at Auckland Council know which beach you got the rash by phoning (09) 301-0101.

  • Check Auckland Council’s Safeswim website for beaches affected by jellyfish.
  • Avoid swimming in baggy clothes, instead wear smaller, fitted swimwear such as bikinis or speedos, as these trap fewer tiny jellyfish.
  • Do not dry yourself with a towel after swimming if you think you may have been affected, as this activates the stings.
  • When you get home, thoroughly wash your swimwear, as jellyfish can sting even when dead.
  • Remove your swimwear and if possible, shower immediately. A saltwater shower is best, although a freshwater shower is almost as good.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service supports Auckland Council with messages regarding health and safety on beaches and when swimming.

ARPHS is a partner with Auckland Council for the Safeswim programme, which publishes information about the health risks from popular Auckland region beaches. The information on the Safeswim website is updated regularly and covers water quality, advice about sun protection, beach hazards, dangerous animal sightings and tidal conditions.

HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

There are specific requirements for notifiable diseases in the Auckland region.

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Last updated 29.11.2018

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