Various sea creatures can sting but these can be readily managed with first aid. In case serious symptoms start to manifest such as swelling, severe pain or difficulty breathing, call for emergency assistance as soon as possible.
Sea urchins are small-sized, round sea creatures with a bony shell covered in spines. These are typically found in shallow water on rocks and in seaweed. The spines of sea urchins are sharp, hard and can cause puncture wounds. Take note that in between the spines are small organs that contain poison that is released as a defense mechanism.
The stingrays are circular, flat or diamond-shaped fish that have serrated, sharp barb underneath their tail. Many individuals end up with stings from a stingray on their ankles, lower legs and feet after accidentally stepping on one while wading in shallow water.
Jellyfish are mushroom-shaped sea creatures that often float close to the surface and have thin, long tentacles on the underside of their bodies. Take note that the tentacles are covered with small poisonous sacs known as nematocysts that can produce a nasty sting if they are touched.
During the warmer season in the recent years, large groups of jellyfish are known to increase in numbers in the seas.
A Portuguese man-of-war is a large-sized, poisonous jellyfish that has large purplish-blue, gas-filled bladder and tentacles that hang below the water. These are typically found in tropical waters. A sting from this sea creature can cause intense pain.
Typical signs and symptoms of stings from sea creatures
All types of stings are sore and cause swelling, inflammation or elevated areas of skin as well as nausea. There are also other symptoms that can occur depending on the creature responsible for the sting.
When it comes to sea urchins, they usually sting on the foot and often leave the spines in the wound. Stingrays can cause a large, jagged wound or puncture wound on the skin.
Various types of jellyfish and Portuguese man-of-water often leave behind elevated skin blisters that are strikingly similar to the form of their tentacles.
When to seek further care
It is vital to seek medical care if the individual has been stung while swimming in the sea or the symptoms become severe such as chest pain or breathing issues, severe or prolonged pain, intense swelling and redness on the affected area as well as seizures or fits.
Seek medical care if an individual has been stung by a stingray or if the sting is on a sensitive part of the body such as the face or genitals. The less severe stings from sea creatures can be managed with first aid care.
While swimming in open water, there are safety precautions to bear in mind in order to avoid stings.
- Always observe the beach warning signs before swimming.
- Use protective clothing such as a wetsuit or waterproof footwear.
- Avoid touching or handling sea creatures that might sting.
- Shuffle the feet while walking in shallow water to warn any sea creatures that you are approaching.