KEY POINTS

  • The marine creature stung her in the leg and abdomen
  • Paramedics gave her anti-venom
  • Box jellyfish venom can kill an adult human being

A swimmer had to be hospitalized Sunday after she was stung by a deadly box jellyfish at a beach in northeastern Australia.

Lisa Schroder, who was in her 40s, was swimming off Pallarenda Beach near Townsville in North Queensland when the deadly creature stung her in the leg and abdomen. Bystanders acted fast and administered vinegar on the stings before paramedics arrived with anti-venom. Schroder was then rushed to the hospital.

"I got out and yelled to my husband that I'd been bitten by a jellyfish," Schroder told the Townsville Bulletin. "He ran to get the bottle of vinegar while I pulled off the tentacles still stuck to me."

"We doused the stings in the vinegar … by this stage I was crying and shaking," Schroder added.

Emergency crews arrived and found Schroder visibly "unwell" and writhing in pain. "She was very sweaty, nauseated and vomiting and she was in an incredible amount of pain," Critical care paramedic Reece Thomas told the Townsville Bulletin.

"I could see the very characteristic, wheel-like frosted pattern we associate with box jellyfish stings," said Thomas, adding that they gave Schroder anti-venom to alleviate her pain. "We carry box jellyfish anti-venom, so we gave her that to help with her pain and help mitigate any severe side effects." 

Schroder said the pain was "excruciating" and "horrendous." She is recovering now and her condition is reportedly stable.

Following the incident, paramedics have urged people to swim only on patrolled beaches that are protected by "stinger nets." "Stick to patrolled beaches, and only swim within the stinger nets," Thomas said.

Box jellyfish are so named due to their box-like body shape. With tentacles crammed with poisonous darts, these marine creatures are considered to be deadly. Its venom can cause cardiac arrest, paralysis and even death. Box jellyfish can swim, whereas other ordinary variants float wherever the water current takes them.

Jellyfish Image: A White spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata). Photo: Mathias Appel/Wikimedia Commons-Public Domain