Reef First Aid Echinodermata Envenomation


Active Member
Echinoderms- Starfish, Sea Cucumbers Sea Urchins
Envenomation is thought sharp brittle spines in the case of the sea urchin and some starfish" e.g Crown of Thorns".
Reaction to the spines of the urchin range from a mild dermatitis to paralysis and hypotension ( low blood pressure). The reaction is dose and location dependant. Initially local pain and swelling are present this can evolve into diffuse body aches, nausea,vomiting, numbness and paralysis.
Sea cucumbers secrete a toxin found mostly in their tenticular organs, and may excrete nematocysts from the organisms they feed on.
Treatment of envenomatioin is immediate immersion of the injured part in water as hot as you can stand without burning the skin. This deactiveates the venom. Water should be around 45C or 113F. Treatment should continue for 30-90 minutes. Now comes the fun part. The spines need to be removed. Some can be easily pulled out, but others may need local exploration and surgical debridement. MRI or X-rays can be used to find them. Incases of severe urchin envenomation emergency treatment should immediately be sought.
Fire and Bristle worms. Have whisker like protrusions which easily break off and lodge n the skin. They cause local irritation, redness and itching. Systemic reactions are rare.
Bristles can be removed with forceps or sticky tape. Vinegar and/or isopropyl alcohol can also be used.


These are great posts! Would it be possible to get them posted as Stickies in the Newbie section? I know that as a newbie, I rarely ventured out of the newbie section except when doing a search. This is very important information that could save a life or at the very least...a lot of pain.
Thanks so much for the information!!!