ASHI and MEDIC First Aid Blog

August 19, 2016

Emergency Care for Marine Animal Stings

As summer weather lingers around the country, many of us are finding refuge in a day at the coast. Whether walking along the shore or getting out into the ocean, why not prepare yourself with some know-how on dealing with marine animal stings?

Some marine animal stings are serious and can benefit from early recognition and care.

Stings from marine animals, such as fire coral, sea anemones, and jellyfish, can occur when swimming or diving in the ocean. These stings can result in significant pain at the sting site and a raised, red, itchy rash.

Wash the sting site with household vinegar as soon as you are able to for at least 30 seconds to deactivate the venom and prevent further stinging.

To help reduce pain, shower or immerse the sting site with hot water for at least 20 minutes or until the pain subsides. The water should be as hot as the person can safely tolerate.

Stingrays can also be encountered in the ocean. A stingray punctures the skin with a barb to inject venom. Intense pain can occur at the sting site.

Carefully clean out the wound site. Immerse the injured area in water as hot as the person can tolerate for 30–90 minutes to deactivate the venom and help relieve pain.

Severe reactions to marine animal stings can include difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, weakness, and fainting. If this occurs, activate EMS immediately.

For more water-related safety tips, see our blogs:

Need to get up to speed on responding to bites, stings, and other emergency care situations in the great outdoors? An ASHI or MEDIC First Aid class is just the thing. Click the button below to find your class.





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