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Fire Coral Stings – Symptoms & Treatments for Fire Coral Rashes & Burns

Fire coral is a double misnomer. First, it’s not really coral (it’s more closely related to jellyfish or sea anemones). And second, it doesn’t actually exhibit any fire-like qualities (um, duh).

What it does do, however, is inflict a red-hot burn upon anyone who comes into contact with it. And because fire coral exists in multiple of the world’s major oceans, surfers and swimmers are no stranger to feeling the burn. The real questions are: how bad is the burn? How do you treat it? And why does this evil inferno creature exist to plague our tropical surf sessions?

Well, for answers on everything fire coral, we reached out to our favorite sea critter specialist, Katie Day, Staff Scientist at the Surfrider Foundation.

What is it and where is it most commonly found?

 Fire coral is a marine animal that looks like a hard coral, but in fact, it’s not a coral, it’s a “hydrozoa” (of the phylum Cnidaria). This means that it’s more closely related to jellyfish and anemones than coral reefs. Fire coral is mainly found growing on reefs or rock substrates in warm, tropical saltwater environments of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, including the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, and the South Pacific. Similar to coral reefs, fire coral is essentially a skeleton filled with tiny polyps, except fire coral has additional specialized “stinging” polyps containing nematocysts, which are able to sting prey and predators, releasing a neurotoxin.

Watch Your Step When You’re In the Caribbean…

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What does fire coral look like?

Fire coral looks like coral, and comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes as species have adapted to their specific environments. For instance, in stronger current areas, fire coral is often thick and flat to prevent structural damage, while in calmer areas, fire coral can be latticed or branched. The color ranges from a mustard or green-yellow to dark orange, and often looks furry as the stinging polyps are located on long hair-like “dactylopores.”

What’re the dangers fire coral poses to humans?

If people avoid physically touching fire coral (as they should for all corals and marine life) the dangers are rather nonexistent; however, if surfing in an area lined with fire coral and you wipe out, or accidentally scrape fire coral during swimming or snorkeling, you can end up with some painful scratches and a burning, itching rash.

What should surfers/swimmers do when they encounter fire coral in the wild?

When you see fire coral in the wild, maintain a safe distance so you avoid any physical contact. They are generally beautiful to look at, with bright colors and interesting shapes, but just like coral reefs, direct contact can harm both you and the “coral.”

Bali Is Home to Fire Coral…

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Are there different types of fire coral? I.e. more dangerous and less dangerous versions?

In the scientific realm, fire coral is referred to as the Genus Millepora, which according to the World Register of Marine Species, has 87 different species. However, due to some classification errors, the actual number of fire coral species is closer to 75 or 80. There are not a lot of studies on the varying toxicity levels of different species from skin contact, but some researchers have extracted the venom of various species and intravenously administered it to mice. Results found that all four tested were lethally toxic to mice in their various doses.

What’re the average symptoms when one encounters fire coral?

One can only get symptoms from fire coral by physically touching or scraping against it. If this happens, you can get scratched by the sharp calcified skeleton, stung by the nematocysts, or both. The sting is pretty immediate, causing a painful burning or stinging sensation in the area that made contact (hence the name “fire” coral) within a couple minutes to a half hour. This is followed by a raised rash that often feels warm, and at times, causes a severe itching sensation lasting between several days to two weeks. Though rare, some studies also reported lymph gland swelling, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle spasms, and more.

There’s Even Fire Coral in Certain Parts of Florida…

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What are the best ways to treat an encounter with fire coral?

If you do come in direct contact with fire coral, don’t panic. Swim back to shore, rinse thoroughly with saltwater and gently pad dry. Follow with multiple vinegar (5% acetic acid) or alcohol (70% isopropyl) rinses to neutralize the toxins. You’ll also want to ensure that no pieces of fire coral are still in the wound, and if so, remove with tweezers or tape. The subsequent rash will have to go through its course, but you can use hydrocortisone to help relieve the itching. Of course, check in with your doctor if you have any known allergies or health issues, or if you start to experience severe symptoms like an infection, allergic reaction, shortness of breath, or swelling.

Anything else we should know about fire coral?

Fire coral is yet another a remarkable creature in our marine environment. It’s exciting to see it in the wild, but just like all wild animals, make sure to keep a safe distance to protect both it and yourself. Fire coral and coral reefs are at risk of widespread degradation due to coral bleaching, which is expected to increase as the waters become warmer and more acidic. In addition to ecological concerns, severe bleaching events could also put some of our favorite beaches and breaks at risk.

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Fire Coral – Divers Alert Network

Fire corals are colonial marine cnidarians that can cause burning skin reactions. Fire-coral-related incidents are common among divers, especially those with poor buoyancy control. They belong to the genus Millepora and live in tropical and subtropical waters around the world.

Fire Coral Locations

Fire corals usually have a yellow-green or brownish, branching formation. Their external appearance will often vary depending on the substrate they grow on or environmental factors such as currents. They can colonize hard structures (dead corals and gorgonians, rocks, metal objects, plastic and other trash) and sometimes appear stony. Despite their characteristic calcareous structure, fire corals are not true corals. They are hydrozoans, which means these animals are more closely related to the Portuguese man-of-war and other stinging hydroids than to calcareous corals.

Mechanisms of Injury

Fire corals get their name because of the fiery sensation experienced after coming into contact with them. The mild to moderate burning that they cause is the result of cnidocytes embedded in their calcareous skeleton. These cnidocytes contain nematocysts that will release when touched, injecting their venom.

Signs and Symptoms

Contact causes a burning sensation that may last several hours. There is often a skin rash, which tends to appear minutes to hours after contact. Depending on the individual’s susceptibility and the localization of the injury, the skin rash may take several days to resolve. Often, the skin reaction will subside in a day or two, but it may reappear several days or weeks after the initial rash disappears. Fire-coral lacerations, in which an open wound receives internal envenomation, are the most problematic fire-coral injuries. Venom from Millepora spp. is known to cause tissue necrosis on the edges of a wound. Carefully monitor these injuries, as necrotic tissue provides a perfect environment to culture serious soft tissue infections.


  • Avoid touching fire coral formations.
  • If you need to kneel on the bottom, look for clear, sandy areas.
  • Remember that fire corals may colonize hard surfaces such as rocks and old conchs, which may not look branchy.
  • Always wear full-body wetsuits to provide some protection against the effects of contact.
  • Master buoyancy control.
  • Always look down while descending.

First Aid

  • Rinse the affected area with white household vinegar. White household vinegar (or a mild acetic acid solution of 2 to 5 percent in water) tends to stabilize unfired nematocysts. Vinegar will not do anything to injected venom. It only prevents further envenomation from unfired nematocysts.
  • Redness and blisters will likely develop regardless of any timely first aid treatment. Do not puncture these blisters; just let them dry out naturally.
  • Keep the area clean, dry and aerated — time will likely do the rest.
  • For open wounds, seek medical evaluation. Fire coral venom is known to have dermonecrotic (tissue death) effects. Share this information with your physician before any attempts to suture an open wound, as the wound edges might become necrotic.
  • Antibiotics and a tetanus booster may be necessary.
  • These injuries tend to relapse after a week or two of what seemed to be a proper resolution. Relapse is normal.

Implications in Diving

For the Diver
  • Follow the first aid recommendations above.
  • Seek professional medical evaluation. Any doctor should be able to help, regardless of any dive medicine knowledge or training.
For the Dive Operator
  • Provide first aid treatment, as described above. As the expedition’s leader, you have a duty of care for a diver injured during your trip.
  • Be skeptical of folkloric first aid treatments. Use common sense, and don’t attempt magic solutions. Remember that you might be liable.
  • Get the diver evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Don’t worry about finding a doctor with dive medicine experience. Any doctor should be able to help with the initial evaluation.
For the Physician
  • Treatment is usually symptomatic (anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines, antibiotics for lacerations and open wounds).
  • For open wounds requiring stitches, remember this venom is dermonecrotic. Although it might be tempting to stitch together close, cleaned edges, these might become necrotic. Consider healing by secondary intention.
  • Antibiotics and a tetanus booster may be necessary.
  • Protect wounds from the sun, as scars might leave a hyper- or hypopigmented area.

Fitness to Dive

You can consider a return to diving if a physician determines that the injury is closed and there are no unacceptable risks of infection.

Coral Reefs & Injuries to People

Coral Reefs & Injuries to People (Photo: )

While beautiful to behold, coral reefs do hold some danger for scuba divers and snorkelers taking in their beauty. Those who accidentally brush up against the coral will often receive a scrape from a rough surface that may lead to an infection. Certain types of coral also sting, and some animals living in the reef pose a real danger to human visitors as well. Those exploring a reef environment must use care to avoid touching any animals in the habitat and should not hesitate to seek medical attention when problems arise.

Coral Scrapes

Getting scraped by a rough piece of coral is, unfortunately, a common injury for those exploring a reef. When a diver runs into a piece of coral and receives a scrape or abrasion, the soft covering of the coral is torn off the rough lower layer and deposited into the created wound. This leads to a prolonged healing time, in comparison to most minor scrapes, with some coral scrapes taking months to heal.

Reef Stings

Select species of coral, typically referred to as fire coral, can sting divers and snorkelers who get too close. Hydroids, commonly found in shallow reef beds and resembling plume-like plants, also cause stings, as do some types of sponges. Reactions to a sting from one of these animals typically appear as a rash or inflammation lasting for a few days. While most reactions are minor, some worsen, becoming severe and leading to painful swelling or blistering that lasts more than a week.

Other Reef Injuries

The sea urchin, a common reef inhabitant, injures divers who run into it by embedding spines under the skin. Divers who become punctured by a spine typically experience skin irritation and inflammation until the spine is removed. Other animals living in the reef, including sea anemones and select species of fish, will sting, leading to reactions that range from minor skin irritation to painful swelling and, in rare cases, death.

Severe Reef Reactions

People who receive an injury from a toxic coral or who have extensive cuts and abrasions from running into a reef are at risk for coral poisoning. Coral injuries that heal slowly or poorly, that leak pus or fluids or that begin to swell are showing signs suggestive of the onset of poisoning. Other symptoms include fever, chills, swollen glands and fatigue. In certain cases, divers experience an allergic reaction to contact with coral or another reef inhabitant leading to anaphylactic shock. Symptoms include low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and abdominal pain occurring from 15 minutes to three hours after exposure.


Writer Bio

Based in Florida, Mandi Titus has been writing since 2002. Her articles have been published on sites such as Goodkin, Go Green Street and Living the Healthy Way. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Stetson University.

Coral Aggression & Placement

 Coral Aggression & Coral Placement Considerations

Just under a coral reef’s veneer of peace and tranquility lies a world of aggression and endless warfare between the constituent corals on the reef. In essence, everything on a coral reef is trying to battle for more real estate and the organisms on the reef developed specialized methods to wipe out their neighbors whether that be other corals, algae, or inverts. This article is all about coral aggression and the role it plays in how we place corals and build up our reef tank.

There are four major adaptations corals developed to combat one another. Corals use these methods to varying degrees and some use a combination of methods to further their competitive advantage. Let’s take a look at each one in turn.


First of all, corals possess nematocysts, or stinging cells. Nematocysts are used for both prey capture as well as defense. These venomous cells are not unique to corals as they are found in anemones and jellyfish as well. Some organisms developed adaptations to acquire nematocysts when they cannot produce the cells themselves. Zoanthid eating nudibranchs for example eat the polyps and store the nematocysts in these sacks on their backs. That is why often times the nudibranchs take on the coloration of the zoanthids they have been feasting on.

How they work is each nematocyst is a pressurized capsule that features a coiled thread with harpoon-like spines. These cells are under a lot of pressure so when they are triggered, this coil fires out and stabs into the target and injects its venom.

The power of the sting depends on the structure of the nematocyst as well as the toxicity of the proteins it fires into the target. Some stings are very mild while others are very intense. For example, the nematocysts from a Pseudocorynactis mushroom are very sticky and it is able to grab onto and hold large fish. In fact, those can easily stick onto your hand and get lifted right out of the water.

Most of the time our skin is thick enough that coral stings aren’t that noticeable, but sometimes people are more sensitive to a particular coral. For example, some people are very sensitive to frogspawn and immediately break out after handling a colony. In extreme cases, people can get very ill. Some people are allergic to the venom from carpet anemones and there have been reported deaths from allergic reactions.

How this relates to coral placement is that some corals are able to create hyper weaponized forms of tentacles called sweeper tentacles. A sweeper tentacle is a greatly elongated tentacle with a concentrated mass of nematocysts at the tip. These sweeper tentacles are most commonly found in large polyp stony corals such as euphyllia, certain brain corals, galaxea, the list goes on but they are also found in some small polyp stony corals such as Pavona. If you have a coral that is capable of sending out sweeper tentacles, it is important to give it a lot of room in your tank because they can cause a lot of damage to neighboring corals. This is often easier said than done. Some corals can extend sweeper tentacles up to a foot away.

 Mesenterial Filaments

Mesenterial Filaments are the inside guts of a coral that some species can expel onto nearby adversaries. Mesenterial filaments contain nematocysts as well as digestive enzymes and can do significant harm by coating the target for hours.

Eventually the coral retracts these filaments leaving behind a clearer substrate to grow upon. It is thought that mesenterial filaments used in this way are used both for aggressive expansion as well as nutrition for the coral when they are withdrawn back into the coral.

Often times this behavior happens at night so it is entirely possible to have two corals situated close to one another be fine but when you wake up the next day one of them is completely dead… a victim of a mesenterial filament attack.

Almost every type of coral is capable of extending mesenterial filaments but some are more aggressive than others in this regard. I see them commonly in favia, favites, pectinia, hydnophora, and many types of chalice corals.

 Mucus Coat

Mucus coats on various corals can cause serious damage to other corals even after brief contact. The aggressiveness of the mucus coat can vary greatly from fairly weak in the case of Xenia to hyper aggressive in the case of Acanthastrea echinata or certain types of chalice corals. The mechanism for this hostility isn’t well documented but it is pretty clear that whatever it is it happens quickly. It is not uncommon for a coral to fall off of the rock scape face down on another and both corals immediately start showing signs of damage. If left that way for a few hours both corals could die outright.

There are some studies that indicate the mucus coats of corals provide all kinds of benefits such as UV protection, microscopic prey capture, and protection from detritus settling on the coral by periodically shedding the coat away. On the flip side however there are studies showing this mucus coat is also a dense breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.

The chemical mechanisms behind the effectiveness of the mucus coat of a coral are still murky, but in practical terms, it is important to place corals in such a way that you minimize the likelihood of contact. Anticipate future growth and make sure to place corals securely so they don’t lean into or worse yet fall on top of each other. Right now at Tidal Gardens the most likely reason any coral dies is because one colony fell into (or got pushed into) another one.

 Chemical Warfare

The last coral aggression adaptation I will discuss in this video is chemical warfare. Some corals don’t necessarily pack a mean sting or barf up their guts and dissolve their neighbor. Corals such as these toadstool leathers can secrete toxic compounds into the water that slowly poisons everything around it.

How this manifests is that other corals around it especially stony corals simply stop growing.

The secreted toxins are metabolites which may include terpenoids, steroids, acetates, and polyamide compounds.

Terpenoids are a super diverse group of natural compounds that are often associated with protective oils. For example some plants have an oily coat that makes them toxic to insects and other herbivores or termites have terpenoid-based oils that make them unappetizing to potential predators.

These terpenoids are also precursors of polyhydroxylated steroids that have been detected as well from certain leather corals. There are also Acetates and Polyamine compounds that are all potentially bio active. In fact, several of these compounds are being investigated for therapeutic uses because some are inhibitors of chemical pathways which are very interesting in drug development circles.

To sum that all up, corals are capable of excreting a cocktail of bio active compounds in an effort to wipe out neighboring organisms. The corals associated most with these chemical toxins are leather corals like sarcophyton, lobophytum, lemnalia, etc.

So what can we as home hobbyists do about corals that engage in chemical warfare?

Some aquarists chose to avoid these corals altogether especially those that are trying to create an SPS dominated tank. A tank full of acropora can be challenging enough without adding large corals that can stunt their growth into the mix.

Having said that, there are plenty of people that keep stony corals with leathers. It may not be ideal but it can be done. There have been plenty of times that I have kept leather corals and acropora in the same tank. If you decide to try something like this in your reef aquarium, there are three techniques that can help.

The first technique is to perform more water changes. By changing out water, this will serve to dilute the concentration of toxins that build up in the tank.

Second method is running activated carbon. Activated carbon works by permanently binding up compounds through adsorption which happens at the surface of the media. As the media fills up it will have to be replaced, but activated carbon is inexpensive and readily available.

The third and by far the least commonly used method is to run ozone in the tank. Ozone is O3 a highly reactive molecule that has powerful oxidizing properties. In an aquarium application it is generated by an ozone machine, usually by passing oxygen through an electrical field splitting the O2 molecule and allowing the oxygen atoms to re form as ozone.

In the aquarium, ozone has a variety of effects such as clearing up the water as the ozone breaks down tannins that give our aquariums a yellow cast. It also virtually eliminates any tank odors. The effect we are interested in for this discussion is how affects the toxins that corals can emit. The extreme reactivity of ozone causes these toxins to break down upon contact to less harmful compounds with little to no bioactivity.

There are severe downsides to ozone, such as safety risks if there is a malfunction. If you are interested in trying ozone, as I am, be aware of the risks and have security measures in place to detect possible leakage of ozone into the air.


That pretty much does it for our discussion on coral aggression. To sum things up, corals developed all kinds of adaptations to gain a competitive advantage in the battle for real estate on the reef. In our home aquariums we have to be conscious of these in order to create the best environment for them long term. Spending extra time to consider placement of corals to minimize risk of two corals battling or falling into one another can save you a massive headache down the road. Also being aware of potential chemical aggressions and dealing with them proactively can be the difference between a tank that is just holding on vs. one that is thriving.

Best of luck in your own tank and I hope to see you all next time. Happy reefing.

FL woman records wasp stinging snake eating other snake

What’s the wildest critter story you’ve ever heard in Florida?

Is it the one where a mega iguana was spotted strolling through Lincoln Road? The gator vs. python death match a Florida man recorded?

Whichever wild one you’re thinking of, Evangeline Cummings’ story might change your “That’s So Florida” list forever.

A wasp stung a snake that was eating another snake in Gainesville.

Yes, you read that right — and it was all caught on camera by the assistant provost and director of University of Florida Online.

The video shows the wasp flying around a coral snake that is feasting on a rat snake, said Steve Johnson, an associate professor of wildlife ecology at UF.

The wasp eventually settles on the coral snake — colored red, black and yellow — and starts walking on it.

Then, the snake twitches. Next thing you know, bam, the wasp stings the predator, sending it thrashing in pain.

The video has garnered more than 50,000 views since it was posted last week.

But how did Cummings even notice this snake vs. snake vs. wasp battle in her backyard?

The rose bush was shaking, she said. Walking over to investigate, she found the dead rat snake hanging from the bush, a coral snake weaving its way through the wood chips and grass.

The snake started slithering its way up the bush, intent to feast on the other snake, Cummings said.

Then, the wasp got involved and spoiled the coral snake’s plan with its venomous sting.

Was the wasp the only one who made it out alive?

Well, despite being stung, the coral snake lived on.

Another video Cummings took later that day shows the venomous coral snake attempting to eat its meal from the ground, despite the presence of wasp “guards.” But it didn’t prevail, and the rat snake hung there for a few more days, she said.

By the way, I have this footage too from later that same day when the coral made its next attempt from the ground. (Seeing this rose bush moving all “by itself” drew me back outside to check it out!!) So the coral survived any wasp sting! And wasps seem to still be present. pic.twitter.com/Dk1z7GWpnr

— Evangeline Cummings (@EvieCummings23) October 21, 2019

It’s unknown how the rat snake died on the bush, but Johnson thinks its possible another animal, like a hawk, was carrying it in its claws and lost grip, sending it falling onto the bush.

But he said it’s also possible that the snake escaped a skirmish it had with the coral snake, which “specializes” on hunting elongated reptiles like snakes and lizards, and later died from the venom.

There’s another mystery Cummings doesn’t believe will be solved.

The dead snake was gone Wednesday morning.

“I have no idea who or what eventually removed it or ate it,” she said.

While the wasp seems to have won this battle, Cummings might have won the true prize. She is now an “official” Florida woman.

“I think we can all agree that the country’s heard just about enough from Florida Man,” Cummings said. “It’s time to hear more from Florida Woman.”

Related stories from Miami Herald

There’s never a dull moment in Florida — and Michelle covers it as a Real Time/Breaking News Reporter for the Miami Herald. She graduated with honors from Florida International University, where she served as the editor-in-chief of Student Media PantherNOW. Previously, she worked as a news writer at WSVN Channel 7 and was a 2020-2021 Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism fellow.

Fire Coral Sting Kit

Delaying use of this product may reduce effectiveness!

  1. Clean your hands with provided towelette. Do not directly touch the injured area without wearing the gloves provided in the kit.
  2. Flush the wound with sterile saline solution Do not rinse the wound with fresh water!
  3. Remove visible pieces of Fire Coral with tweezers or a gloved hand or double glove if you feel that you might come in direct hand contact with the Fire Coral or scrape away pieces using provided scraper or flat edge of a credit card.
  4. Liberally apply Ocean Care Solutions 5% acetic acid solution directly to the wound. Allow the gel to remain on the wound for 30 minutes. 
    Snap to activate the heat pack and apply to
    the affected area for 15 minutes if possible. Pain may
    initially intensify but maintain heat application. Use the
    elastic wrap to hold the pack in place if necessary, wrapping
    just tightly enough to maintain skin contact without added
  5. After 30 minutes, use the provided scraper or a dull-edged object, such as a credit card, to gently scrape away any residual gel. Use provided gauze to clean around the wound. Do not rub the wound.
  6. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to help keep the wound moist and avoid infection.
  7. Cover wound with non adhesive gauze and gently wrap with elastic bandage. The wound should be cleaned and redressed twice a day thereafter.
  8. After 24 hours and if necessary, apply hydrocortisone cream to relieve minor inflammation.

If the person who has come into contact with fire coral develops shortness of breath; swelling in the tongue, face or throat; or other signs of an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.


Always seek medical attention immediately if signs of infection appear following injury, the rash worsens, or the rash does not improve within 5 to 7 days.


Cnidaria Toxicity Article

Continuing Education Activity

Cnidaria is a classification of marine life that includes jellyfish, fire coral, stinging hydroids, sea wasps, sea nettle, and anemones. Jellyfish not only cause most marine envenomations in the United States but also worldwide due to the large numbers. The severity and treatment of their stings vary widely. Factors that determine the severity of a bite include the type of jellyfish, the size of the sting, and the individual patient. This activity illustrates the evaluation and treatment of the patients presenting with cnidaria toxicity and reviews the role of the interprofessional team in improving care for patients with this condition.


  • Summarize the epidemiology of cnidaria toxicity.
  • Describe the pathophysiology of cnidaria toxicity.
  • Describe the typical presentation of a patient with cnidaria toxicity.
  • Outline the importance of improving care coordination among the interprofessional team to enhance the delivery of care for the patients affected by cnidaria toxicity.


Cnidaria is a classification of marine life that includes jellyfish, fire coral, stinging hydroids, sea wasps, sea nettle, and anemones. Jellyfish not only cause most marine envenomations in the United States but also worldwide due to the large numbers. The severity and treatment of their stings vary widely. Factors that determine the severity of a bite include the type of jellyfish, the size of the sting, and the individual patient.


Jellyfish are members of the phylum Cnidaria. They are invertebrates that float in salt and brackish water. They have a central bell and multiple lengthy tentacles. Jellyfish consume their prey using stinging cells called nematocysts.  Nematocysts are hollow, barbed tubes that inject venom into the victim’s skin at a force of two to five pounds per square inch (13-34 kPa). The nematocysts are located along the jellyfish’s tentacles and discharge using a “spring mechanism” upon contact with the prey.[1]  The stinging mechanism can still function even if the organism is dead. The venom enters through the dermal layer, and may also penetrate the general circulation causing both skin and systemic symptoms in affected patients. The venom is antigenic and commonly causes allergic reactions. Jellyfish stings occur when humans wander into their path, as jellyfish do not actively seek out prey.


Jellyfish stings are common in warm coastal waters, with most stings being mild.  There have been two reported deaths from the Portuguese Man-Of-War.  Some of the more severe bites are associated with the box jellyfish, specifically Chironex Fleckeri. This jellyfish is commonly known as the “sea wasp.”  The sea wasp has caused multiple deaths along the Australian coastlines.  The sting of this jellyfish can induce cardiac arrest within minutes.[2] The sea wasp is more dangerous than the Great White shark!!

History and Physical

At the time of the sting, most patients do not see the jellyfish but do feel immediate pain.  Usually, patients will notice a linear red or urticarial lesion that develops a few minutes after the exposure.[2]  Sometimes these lesions can be delayed by several hours. The pain associated with the envenomation is described as burning pain and sometimes as pruritus. The pain may last anywhere from several hours to several days. Moderate to severe symptoms include muscle ataxia, seizure, anaphylaxis, hypotension, bronchospasm, pulmonary edema, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcers.

There’s also a specific syndrome called Irukandji syndrome.  This syndrome is caused by a tiny jellyfish which is usually one centimeter by one centimeter in diameter.  Symptoms of this syndrome include pain at the site of envenomation followed by generalized back, chest, abdominal pain, hypertension, and tachycardia.  The signs are a result of a catecholamine release. [2]

Another common manifestation is called seabather’s eruption.  This itchy dermatitis caused by the sting of a jellyfish and sea anemone larva.[3]  The substance gets caught in the patient’s bathing suit causing local skin irritation.

The Portuguese Man-Of-War is not a true jellyfish, but a colony of hydroids.  Envenomation causes pain, scarring, paresthesias — other symptoms include nausea, headache, chills, and possibly even cardiopulmonary arrest. 


The diagnosis of jellyfish envenomation is a clinical one.  Key elements of the history include the time of envenomation, the body part that was involved, activity when stung, type of water, geographic location, and the onset of symptoms. Workup includes a careful history and assessment of the ABCs.  Then you perform a thorough secondary exam and complete skin evaluation.  

Treatment / Management

Treatment should start with immediate removal of the nematocysts. This removal can be done using gentle pressure with a credit card. Shaving cream or a baking soda slurry can be used to help remove the nematocysts as well. Care should be used to avoid using too much pressure as it can cause the nematocyst to release their toxin.  You should not immerse the wound in freshwater, because this may cause the nematocysts to discharge more venom due to differences in oncotic pressures.[2] You can soak the wound in saltwater to help relieve some of the pain.

Treatment also varies by the type of jellyfish involved. For most jellyfish in the US, hot water immersion is effective at decreasing the pain of the sting. You should use the hottest water that can be tolerated by the patient, without burning the skin.  You can also use acetic acid (household vinegar) to help relieve pain.[2] The toxin is reduced by soaking the affected area of the body for 30 minutes in the 5% acetic acid. Topical anesthetics can also be used once all the nematocysts have been removed.  For severe pain, narcotic medication may be provided. Corticosteroids can be used for severe symptoms. Antihistamines may be used for itching. The patient should have their tetanus vaccination updated while in the Emergency Department as well. Patients that appear to have symptoms consistent with anaphylaxis should be treated just as you would normally treat anaphylaxis from any other source.[4]

There are urban myths that urine can help decrease the pain of a jellyfish sting.[1]  At this time there is no evidence to supports this, and therefore is not recommended.

For unstable or patients in cardiac arrest that have been stung by Chironex fleckeri (sea wasp), it is advised to administer the antitoxin.  The starting dose is one vial or 20,000 units. This can be repeated to a maximum of six vials. The effects of the antivenom may be delayed by as much as 60 to 70 minutes making prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation necessary.[5] 

Treatment of seabather’s eruption consists of symptomatic treatment. Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, loratadine, or hydroxyzine can be used to help with the itching.[3]  Topical calamine lotion can also be used to help with pruritus.

Differential Diagnosis

Differential diagnosis should include cellulitis, gastroenteritis, and envenomation from other marine life (corals, sea urchins, fish, and stingrays).


Prognosis is generally good for mild stings as these usually only require supportive care.  Severe bites or stings from Cnidaria with more potent toxins can have more life-threatening complications.  These stings should be treated aggressively with resuscitation protocols and antivenom.[2]


Complications of Cnidaria stings can range from minor symptoms to life-threatening symptoms. These complications from envenomation include cellulitis, abscess, allergic reactions, anaphylaxis, and cardiorespiratory arrest.[2]

Deterrence and Patient Education

Several over-the-counter options are available to prevent jellyfish envenomation.   These range from suits worn by swimmers and surfers to lotions that mimic the mucus coating that is found on clownfish.

Patients that appear well and have no signs of systemic illness may be discharged home with return precautions for any symptoms of anaphylaxis. Patients that do show signs of significant systemic symptoms, or need antivenom, should be admitted to the hospital for further symptomatic management.

Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes

Cnidaria generally stings only require supportive care.  Severe stings may require interprofessional care.  In the case of severe stings, the practitioner should be aware of local marine life and know the complications of specific envenomation.  Calling the local lifeguards who may be the first medical professional to see the patient may give you some insight as to what could have caused the scene.  Nursing staff should be watching for complications of severe stings including anaphylaxis and sudden cardiac arrest.

90,000 What insects and animals should be feared in Phuket in 2020?

Thai cockroaches in Phuket

Walking in the evening through the streets of Phuket, you can easily see giant cockroaches on the paths, do not be alarmed. In the midday heat, you will not meet them, as they hide from the sun in their shelters. They appear after sunset. It happens that these cockroaches in a few centimeters can crawl right on your table in a cafe or bar. Of course, you can use cockroach remedies at any time, they are sold in any supermarket.

Mosquitoes in Phuket

There are quite a few mosquitoes or mosquitoes here, the closer to nature, the greater their number. Stock up on special products that will scare them away. Otherwise, through mosquito bites, you run the risk of catching a fever here! Dengue, which is not fatal during treatment, but is not tolerated. For every fireman, study her symptoms to find her. The initial symptoms are similar to the flu or cold: fever, coughing, then vomiting and abdominal pains, swollen lymph nodes, and you begin to lose weight.If you find it, be sure to go to the hospital. The disease is curable and lasts 1-2 weeks. There are few mosquitoes during the day; their peak begins in the evenings. Be sure to ensure that mosquito nets are installed on the windows.

Centipedes in Phuket

They are found almost everywhere here, and their diversity is scary. Most millipedes are harmless in various colors, sizes and shapes. Unfortunately, there are some species that contain venom, and if bitten, you risk getting a painful ulcer.Poisonous species have a sting, which, if damaged, can cause a painful wound. When resting in nature or walking in the park, be careful.

Scorpions in Phuket

Thai scorpions are not as scary as African ones. Since death comes immediately from their bite, and in Phuket, a scorpion bite can only infect you with a dangerous allergy. If you’re lucky, the scorpion bite will only itch a lot. But not all of them are so safe. The size of the sting and claw can tell you if a scorpion is poisonous.In poisonous ones, the sting will be larger in relation to the claws. As the Thai saying goes: “The safest scorpion is fried with olive oil!” And yes, if you are stung by a scorpion, see your doctor immediately.

Ants in Phuket

Ants are not the most pleasant neighbors. These tiny creatures can cause a lot of hassle and trouble. And in Phuket they also bite painfully. It is easier to prevent their occurrence than to deal with them later.Therefore, do not leave food in the open. Store either in the refrigerator or in an airtight container. Use ant cleaners and insect crayons. Get rid of the trash right away. It is better to lubricate the places of ant bites with alcoholic tinctures, if you have a tendency to allergies, then take antiallergenic agents. If it gets worse, see your doctor.

Tracks in Phuket

Caterpillars in Phuket are small, brightly colored insects with fluff on their bodies.These small hairs that come off serve as a defense mechanism. These caterpillars are very fussy with a bad temper. Do not touch any brightly colored animals in this exotic country. Otherwise, when in contact with them, painful blisters with liquid inside will appear on your skin, which will then burst painfully. Itching in these areas can be troublesome for you for a week. Caterpillars are able to climb into your bag, on you and your clothes.

Moshki in Phuket

On the walls of old houses in Thailand, you can find cocoons with cocoons, in which there are nests of flies, where eggs with larvae are laid.Later, unpleasant-looking worms are formed from them, which later become flies. They certainly won’t hurt you much, but it’s unpleasant to look at. You can always use a broom or vacuum cleaner to remove them.

Snakes in Phuket

Unfortunately, snakes live not only in the jungle, they often crawl even into dwellings or under the hood of a car. So how can you tell the difference between a venomous snake and a non-venomous one? Phuket is home to many types of snakes, but fortunately, not all of them are aggressive and poisonous.There are several distinguishing features by which a dangerous snake can be recognized, although there are exceptions.

In poisonous snakes – the head is wider than the neck, forming a triangle, and the pupils are elongated vertical (cobra is an exception), bright color, aggressive habits. Non-venomous ones have an oval head, and when bitten they leave only scratches or lacerations. Poisonous snakes have two bright fang marks. The most dangerous is the king cobra, it can be six meters in length. Its venom is so intense that such a cobra can kill an elephant in one bite.The good news is that it is rare and only found in the wild.

If you are “lucky” to meet a snake on your way, then:
The first thing you need to do is stop and not move. Then start slowly and calmly backing away to a safe distance. Remember that snakes make a big jump attack. Move as far as possible. Snakes cannot hear, but they sense vibration and respond to sudden movements. Don’t try to kill the snake yourself. Many snakes attack only when they feel threatened by themselves or their offspring.Sometimes snakes are able to pretend to be dead, do not touch, do not step on it or approach it. If you are bitten by a snake, do not panic, seek urgent medical attention at the nearest hospital.

Spiders in Phuket

Thai spiders are not as venomous as scorpions. However, they are predators and their venom can be dangerous to you. They usually do not attack themselves, they attack when they feel danger, when they invade their territory.After a spider bite, pain and inflammation occur, and muscle spasms begin. Fortunately for visiting tourists, there are no deadly poisonous spiders in Phuket, but after being bitten, be sure to see a doctor and try to remember the appearance of the spider in order to describe it in the hospital.

Ticks in Phuket

In Phuket, in parks, forests, and in all vegetation, it is easy to meet blood-sucking parasites. The greatest danger from them is that they can infect with borreliosis or encephalitis.These nasty insects are looking for a warm-blooded organism in order to cling to it, and they do it absolutely imperceptibly. Therefore, while walking in the jungle, parks, do not forget to undress and examine yourself, shake out your shoes and clothes. The tick must be pulled out together with the head, better than a doctor, no one will do this.

Jellyfish in Phuket

In public places for tourism, animals can be rarely seen, but in the water, even on the central beaches, the danger is much greater.The most dangerous creature that you will meet here is jellyfish. Sometimes there are a lot of them in the sea and they all sting with different strengths, it happens that they cause serious harm, and in rare cases they even kill. Young children and people of age are the most vulnerable to them, as well as people with heart disease, allergies, asthma and diseases of the central nervous system. Don’t panic if you get stung, just try to contact the emergency room or local rescuers right away. Most often, jellyfish sting on cloudy days, as they are afraid of the sun.Therefore, it is better and safer for you to take sea baths in clear sunny weather. So you can surely avoid meeting these dangerous marine life.

Lionfish or dragonfish

Very beautiful but dangerous fish can be most often seen near coral reefs. With very sharp long needles, it can injure you badly. And in shallow water, sea bass swims, which can also hurt you. The dragon fish has an amazingly beautiful and bright color, which undoubtedly attracts the attention of tourists.If you inadvertently touch her needle-rays, then it can even be fatal for you, at best there will be a wound with swelling that will hurt for a week, at least.

For those who like to take a selfie with a bright fish, it can result in skeletal or respiratory paralysis. When this does happen, see a doctor immediately. At sea, when you encounter unknown marine life, you need to be extremely careful and avoid dangerous contact. Lionfish are often camouflaged in coral reefs, they hunt in the sea at sunset.

Just by adhering to simple rules, you can avoid danger and leave only a good impression of the coming vacation. But not all animals and insects are so dangerous, there are also quite friendly ones. Phuket’s special tropical fauna has ideal conditions for life and habitat of a rich variety of insects and animals. And it is virtually impossible to visit the island without seeing some exotic creature. But be sure to remember that it can be very dangerous.

90,000 Who are the Cnidarians?

Cnidarians are a relatively simple type of animals (one in 38), including jellyfish, corals, sea pansies, sea pens, jellies and sea wasps.The phylum gets its name Cnidaria from the Greek cnidos, which means sting.

All cnidarians, including stationary corals (the creators of the famous and beautiful coral reefs), have stinging cells called cinocytes, which get their stings from organelles called nematocysts (also called cynidocytes or cidoblasts). Cnidarians are believed to be among the most basic of all animals, with the exception of sponges and fossils dating back to the Ediacaran period, 580 million years ago.The Cnidarians left behind some of the first clearly identifiable animal fossils.

There are over 10,000 Cnidarian species, divided into four main classes: Anthozoa (anemones, corals), Scyphozoa (real jellyfish), Cubozoa (box jelly), and Hydrozoa (Obelia, Aequorea, Portuguese War, etc.). Two additional small groups include Polypodium (strange parasitic segments, one of the few animals living in the cells of other animals) and Myxozoa, tiny fish / worm parasites.The classification of the latter two groups within Cnidaria is relatively new and made possible by genetic analysis.

Cnidarians have a reputation for being beautiful but painful or even deadly. Every year, jellyfish sting thousands of people, resulting in severe pain for many and even death for some. In Australia and other high-risk areas, select beaches are fenced off with nets to protect swimmers from painful gut contact. Boxed jellies are especially dangerous, and one of the species, the Irukandji jellyfish, is considered one of the most poisonous animals on the planet.One victim stated, “I didn’t think anyone would be able to survive this level of pain without turning into a vegetable.”

Cnidarians (coral) make up the world’s largest superorganism, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which covers an area of ​​approximately 344,400 square kilometers (132,974 sq mi). This reef and many others around the world grow gradually over thousands of years as coral polyps die, leaving behind their skeletons, and then break off to form new sections of the reef. These reefs are home to many marine animals, including the majestic green sea turtles.


90,000 Alexey Yablokov: The Earth can reject humanity

– Is the Earth a thinking superorganism?

– If thinking is the action of reason, and reason is the highest level of self-knowledge of matter, then in the development of the biosphere there were several breakthroughs to the level of reason. One such breakthrough is social insects. Their minds are based on an incredibly complex system of instincts that have concentrated the experience accumulated over hundreds of millions of years of their existence.But this is another mind, alien to us. Much later, mammals made a breakthrough to the level of intelligence in two different directions – primates and cetaceans. In this breakthrough, the mind is materially linked to the colossal development of the brain. Whales, for example, have brain sections that we don’t. And in terms of the number of nerve cells, the brain of dolphins is larger than the human brain.

Since this machine – a colossal brain – was made in the course of evolution, then it must work. But they don’t need tools – marine mammals can get food in a matter of minutes and devote most of their time to something else.So, dolphins can transmit and receive the most complex ultrasound signals, built more complex than our speech (in humans: sound-word-phrase, that is, three levels of speech, in a dolphin – up to five). What they “talk about” – we do not know, but we know that they communicate with their great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers (not two or three generations simultaneously live in a group of dolphins, as in humans, but seven-nine Imagine that we could communicate with Pushkin and Darwin, Lincoln and Faraday, Tesla and Einstein, Gandhi and Marx!

Of course, there is a long way from the intellectual world of dolphins to the “thinking” Earth.But the fact that we know little about connections in nature is beyond doubt.

– Darwin’s “Struggle for existence” is also, in fact, a metaphor, but it justifies the egoism of humanity as “the king of nature.” What is still more in nature: struggle or peaceful coexistence?

– The struggle for existence is a figurative expression of Darwin. Later, our eminent philosopher Pyotr Kropotkin at the beginning of the twentieth century suggested that mutual assistance lies at the heart of life. Those species survive, individuals of which help each other.It seems to be a direct contradiction with the Darwinian struggle for existence. But in the process of evolution, struggle and mutual assistance cannot be separated. Mutual assistance is one of the aspects of the struggle for existence, for higher organisms it is one of the species adaptations. The extreme expression is when individuals sacrifice themselves for the survival of the species. For example, a bee stings and dies, leaving a sting in the enemy’s body. But this death is beneficial for the species – once stung, the enemy will keep away from the bees. In each swarm, hundreds will die, losing their sting, but thousands will survive.


– One of the founders of geophysiology Lovelock wrote that “species that adversely affect the environment, making it less suitable for offspring, will eventually be expelled just like weaker, evolutionarily unsuitable species …” … Humanity is changing the Earth, adjusting it to fit its needs. Can the planet respond with disasters, viruses and other adversity?

– Thousands of species that have disappeared as a result of deforestation and destruction of coral reefs have been well adapted to natural conditions.Man destroyed them along with their habitat. I am opposed to Lovelock’s primitive interpretation of the concept of group natural selection. But his idea that the Earth-Gaia could reject a person as an irritating abscess or a dangerous cancer is deep and important. Such an outcome is theoretically quite possible. Now a person is doing a lot to make this happen. Take the world’s oceans, which for millennia have been the granary of humanity.