Did someone drop a ‘huge’ bluebottle at a popular lake?
A freshwater lake is the last place you would expect to be stung by a bluebottle.
But that's exactly what happened to poor little Cooper Dein, 4, when he was swimming at Lennox Head's popular Lake Ainsworth on Monday.
With thousands of bluebottles dotting North Coast beaches, his parents Ryan and Lauren decided a swim at the freshwater lake would be a safer option.
They had been at Sharpes Beach earlier that day and Cooper had jumped on a bluebottle, and part of its tentacle stuck to the back of his leg, giving him a mild sting.
So the family headed to the lake for a dip around 4pm.
"We were at the southern end of the lake and Cooper was walking back to the shore when he yelled out, 'bluebottle'," Mr Dein said.
"I was thinking, no way, but then he lifted his arm up and it was there, and it was huge.
"Its tentacles almost reached down to the ground. It would have been 3ft or more.
"It was just totally unexpected, it was so weird that a bluebottle would be in the lake."
Mrs Dein said her son started screaming from the pain.
She said another swimmer offered ice from their esky and then the family ran over to the surf life savers at nearby Seven Mile Beach.
"They said to have a hot shower and gave us some Stingose," she said.
"He's okay, but his whole arm was wrapped up in it."
When Mrs Dein posted about the shock bluebottle sting on her Facebook page, respected local surfer Max Perrot commented: "Last summer young crew were seen putting bluebottles in the lake".
The family said it was disappointing to think someone would do such a thing on purpose, but they wanted other swimmers to be aware of the situation.
"It's ridiculous," Mrs Dein said.
"I have never in all of my years here seen anyone do something like that," Mr Dein agreed.
First aid for bluebottle stings
● Wash off any remaining tentacles with seawater, or pick off with your fingers (they can't usually sting through the tough skin on your fingers)
● Immerse the patient's sting in hot water (no hotter than can be easily tolerated)
● If local pain is not relieved or immersion facilities are not available, the application of cold packs or wrapped ice is also effective.
(Source: Surf Life Saving)