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Marine Envenomation

   
 

Brown Sting Ray

Several marine animals can inflict painful stings or envenomations. Stings from Jellyfish, especially the Portuguese Man O' War, stingrays, and some anemones, usually require medical attention. Worldwide, jellyfish stings kill more people than shark attacks. Especially dangerous is a sting from a marine creature on the neck or throat, as the ensuing swelling may cause suffocation.


Jelly Fish

Like other jellyfish the tentacles of Sea Nettles, common along the Eastern Coast of the USA, have millions of microscopic stinging cells used to paralyze and kill prey as well as to defend the jellyfish. Pieces of tentacle left on the skin can continue to fire stinging cells, called nematocysts, that inject toxins if disturbed and untreated even hours after the original event. Jellyfish which are washed up on shore can still sting if the tentacles are moist.


Stings from Portuguese Man O' War, other jellyfish, stingrays, etc., may benefit from First Aid treatment with the Extractor Pump while medical attention is being sought.


Seek medical attention if stung by a Portuguese Man O'War or stingray, if redness and soreness spreads beyond the area of the sting, or if a serious reaction occurs.


Marine Envenomation Treatment

  • JELLYFISH - Use the Extractor as mentioned above. Use a topical agent for relief from pain and itching. A mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% rubbing alcohol should be applied first, to dry and disinfect the wound.
  • STINGRAYS - Seek medical attention if attacked by a stingray. Apply heat or immerse the affected area in hot water to thin the venom. Apply the Sawyer Extractor™ Pump, and monitor for signs of allergic reaction.
  • CORAL - Clean the affected area thoroughly with a solution of 50% vinegar and 50% rubbing alcohol, making sure to remove small splinters of coral which may have been left under the skin. Then apply a topical pain reliever.
  • SWIMMERS ITCH - Clean the area and seek relief from itching. If itching persists, seek medical advice.


Marine Envenomation Prevention

  • To prevent jellyfish stings such as Sea Nettles, apply petroleum jelly to bare skin, or wear a wet suit or other skin covering. Some Jellyfish such as Sea Nettles prefer low salinity so often venture into bays or close to river mouths where the sea is mixed with fresh water. Avoid swimming in these or other low salinity areas if jellyfish are present.
  • To avoid stingrays, shuffle your feet as you move through shallow water to alert them to your presence. Most stingray stings occur when an unsuspecting wader steps on a surprised ray close to shore, where stingrays often congregate.

 

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