First aid for bites and stings: Blue-ringed octopus

by | First Aid and Self-Care

blue ringed octopus

Blue-ringed octopuses, often found in rockpools, inhabit all Australian coastal waters.

Can be fatal. First aid for blue-ringed octopus bites includes the following.

  • Dial 000 for an ambulance – medical help is needed as fast as possible.
  • Pressure immobilisation bandages should be applied, using a broad pressure bandage and splint on the affected limb.
  • Stay with the person, reassure them and keep them still.
  • Assisted or artificial respiration may be needed.
  • Person will need transfer to hospital – prolonged artificial respiration is often required until the effects of the venom wear off.
  • There is no antivenom available.

Signs and symptoms of blue-ringed octopus bite

Blue ringed octopuses secrete a nerve toxin in their saliva. Their bite is usually painless, but the person bitten will feel numb around the mouth, tongue, face and neck and will feel tight in the chest and may have difficulty breathing.

Respiratory failure occurs eventually which leads to death if the person is not resuscitated. Most of the time, the victim is aware, but unable to move or respond.

For more information on all bites and stings, please see our article here.