The main injuries at sea and how to treat them
One of the basic rules for any form of diving and just being in the ocean is “do not touch”. We all know that to control ourselves and not to touch anything under water is not only respect for the underwater world, which we come as guests, but also the best way to avoid injuries and injuries. However, in some cases contact is inevitable.
Most of us at some point still have a painful encounter with the marine organism, whether it be contact with corals or a bite of a jellyfish. It is important to know how to respond to this. In this article, we will consider the treatment of several common marine injuries. In most cases, the listed actions may be sufficient. In severe cases, they can provide crucial support while the victim is awaiting professional assistance.
Earlier we wrote about the 10 most dangerous animals in the ocean. We recommend that you read this article too.
A jellyfish bite ranges from unpleasant to life-threatening. The severity of the bite depends on several factors, including the type of jellyfish, the affected part of the body, the size of the affected area, and the physiology of the victim. For example, young children or older people are more likely to experience more severe symptoms, and some people may have a severe allergic reaction.
As with all marine injuries, the first step is to leave the victim out of the water. If the species has been identified as particularly dangerous, the second step is to alert the emergency services. Medical attention is also required if the victim experiences severe symptoms, including shortness of breath. Avoid rubbing the damaged area or direct exposure, as this can lead to untreated stinging cells or nematocysts freeing their venom.
Using any item (tweezers, gloves, a piece of tissue, etc.), remove the visible remnants of the tentacles from the affected area. Treat the affected area with vinegar or lemon juice. This helps to neutralize stinging cells. Do not use fresh water for washing! This can enhance the effects of the poison and the release of more cells.
It is believed that cold exposure (ice pack) on the damaged area or warm (heating pad?) Reduces pain and swelling.
Lionfish, stone fish, scorpion fish
All of these fish have poisonous spikes that can cause very serious injury if they penetrate the diver’s skin. As a rule, professional medical care is required for treatment. The most dangerous of these fish is a stone fish. First aid for all three injuries is the same, so they are combined in one group.
First transport the victim out of the water. Then carefully remove all visible fragments of the needle from the wound using tweezers. When the wound is clean, place the damaged area of the body with the wound in very hot water for 30-90 minutes or until medical help arrives. It must be very hot, but so that the victim can endure, without scalding. Heat destroys the proteins in the poison, causing its deactivation. If the wound is difficult to immerse in water (it is on the body or head), you can instead cover it with a hot cloth.
The treatment recommended for lionfish and stones also applies to injuries caused by spikes of sea urchins. These spikes are often very fragile, so great care should be taken not to break them when removed from under the skin. If the needle has gone deep and cannot be removed, or the puncture is near the joint, be sure to seek medical help. In the latter case, the inability to properly heal the wound can ultimately lead to disruption of the joint due to nerve damage.
Sea urchins come in different species and varying degrees of danger. Say, hedgehogs in the Red Sea with small spikes are quite poisonous, and an untreated wound can fester for a long time and even lead to infection.
But in Thailand, there are a lot of black hedgehogs with long needles, which, although they look scary, are not poisonous. Local residents treat injuries very simply, painfully, but effectively. We have repeatedly tested this method on ourselves when there is no needle or tweezers at hand. The lesion site must be beaten for a long time and with force to crush the needles. Typically, a stone or lead load may be suitable for this, with a corner of which they strike the affected area in order to crush the needles. The procedure is painfully painful! Use this method at your own risk. After the needles have crumbled, treat the place several times with lemon juice. As a rule, within a couple of days, even multiple injections resolve.
Coral cuts and abrasions heal for a very long time and easily fester. This is due to the fact that microorganisms that cover coral structures contaminate the wound, which makes the injury more serious than in the case of a similar abrasion obtained on land. The first step is to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound.
When the bleeding stops, rinse the area thoroughly with clean fresh water.