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For the test, Dr Andrew Rochford stepped into the firing line and volunteered to be lightly stung on his arm and leg a total of five times by a bluebottle and then treated with one of five possible remedies.
When bluebottles sting, they release a powerful toxin, which is most often localised, but the venom has been known to travel to people's armpits and groins via the bloodstream. Stings can be fatal: four people in the Northern Hemisphere have died as a result of severe swelling caused by bluebottle stings.
So what's the best way to treat a bluebottle sting?
Grant Willis, a marine biologist at the Sydney Aquarium, donned some gloves and got to work stinging Dr Rochford.
One theory is to rub sand on the sting. "I can't imagine why anyone thought sand might help," Dr Rochford said. Sand should make the pain worse as it will push the venom deeper into the skin.
This treatment is very effective on box jellyfish stings but what about bluebottles? The use of vinegar to treat stings is controversial. It appears that vinegar can make the sting more painful in some cases, while other victims report relief after applying vinegar.
The idea is that ice helps to control the spread of the poison but it also helps to make the sting feel a lot more comfortable so the patient is not in distress. Ice should numb the area and decrease the swelling and inflammation but it will not destroy the toxin.
Dr Rochford rubbed it into his fourth sting. "It's kind of soothing when you rub it into the skin but there's still plenty of sting and burning," Dr Rochford said. "It's actually starting to tingle down my arm now." The cream should have a mild effect but the results could be surprising.
Dr Rochford put his foot into a bucket of hot water (out of a tap) which was hot enough without burning the skin.
It normally takes about an hour for a bluebottle sting to settle down. The worst part is the first 15 minutes.
The hot water really is the way to go if you are stung. The optimum temperature of the water is about 45°C still well below boiling point, but hot enough to do the job. The idea is that by immersing the sting and skin layer in hot water, the toxins can effectively be made inactivate. Even dead bluebottles can sting.
If you see bluebottles washed up on the beach, leave them alone. Even after they're dead, the slightest amount of moisture has been known to re-hydrate the poison and the stingers. So watch out!
Have you ever been stung? Comment Below!