We don’t know about you but we’re pretty sure most of you can’t wait to hit the beach! However, before you dive head-first into planning your summer getaway, there are a few things that you need to prepare for – and no, it’s not your ultimate packing checklist, but the coastal residents that can turn your beach day into a disaster.
True, the beach is a welcoming place on hot summer days. Unfortunately, it also plays host to thousands of marine species, many of which can leave you with itchy and painful stings.
So, to ensure your next beach trip is as best as it can ever be, here’s a list of the 15 things you need to watch out for.
15 Marine Animals that Sting
There are thousands of types of jellyfish dwelling in the oceans worldwide, and their sting can be intensely painful or in some cases, fatal. These critters sting beach bums more often than any other type of marine life and it can also be blamed to the fact that they sting even long after they’re dead.
Sea anemones are some of the marine animals that release poison through their tentacles. They launch this venom even on the slightest contact pressure, either to defend themselves or capture food. They are normally found on the floors of tropical waters, but they are found in cold climates too.
3. Portuguese Man of War
This marine life is often mistaken for a jellyfish. However, this colorful creature is actually a colony of individual organisms, sometimes in groups of a thousand or more. This can be found floating in warm waters of the oceans and its sting can be painful and fatal.
4. Sea Urchins
There are various species of sea urchins, and most of them have long spines that can inflict a painful wound when they penetrate the skin. A spine will eventually dissolve but it will remain in the wound causing pain for a brief period. Urchins are often found in shallow waters or sandy shorelines.
5. California Cones
California Cones are a species of small, cone snails that inject venom through their teeth. Their venom can cause swelling, blurred vision, respiratory failure or in rare chances, death. As the name suggests, these cones are dominant in California, but other species are found in the tropical and subtropical seas.
6. Blue-ringed octopus
The blue-ringed octopus is considered one of the most dangerous animals in the sea. Its saliva has enough venom to paralyze up to 10 adults and it can even be fatal. This species is relatively common in the shallow coastal waters of Australia and eastern Indo-Pacific.
7. Fire Coral
Fire corals or stinging corals are not corals at all. Although they look similar to corals, they are actually related to jellyfish and anemones. They have sharp venomous tentacles and contact to them can result in burning, pain, itching, swelling and sometimes nausea and vomiting.
Venomous fishes have their own means of injecting toxins into their victim. The effects of their sting can either pose a lesser degree of injury or cause severe reactions – even possible death. However, it’s also important to note that their sting can be likely relieved by plunging the wound into hot water. Some of these fishes include:
their spines deliver sting that often cause severe pain, sweating and even paralysis. They usually live along the Caribbean, East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.
regarded as the most venomous of all fishes, stonefish inject their venom through its rear spines. They are common in the shallow coastal waters of northern Australia.
these venomous fishes contain a toxin that can be lethal to human. In fact, it is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide. They are common in the tropical ocean waters.
stingrays are one of the most common causes of injuries in the waters and it’s mainly because many rays conceal themselves on the seafloor where they’re prone to be stepped on.
while boxfish may not be as poisonous as puffers, they still excrete a toxin from their skin into the water, poisoning marine life within the vicinity.
in addition to their venomous spines, a stargazer fish has eyes that can cause 50 volt jolt of electric shocks. These may not be enough to kill human, but it can still paralyze small preys.
14. Striped Eel Catfish
the venom of striped eel catfish is known to be fatal to human. They are commonly found along fresh and coastal waters throughout the world.
15. Weever Fish
weever fish have stings that can cause severe pain, swelling, nausea and fever. They are considered as the most venomous fish in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and European coastal areas.
Stings: Signs and Symptoms
All stings are painful but they may have other signs and symptoms that vary depending on what has stung you. These can include:
- Difficulty breathing
In certain occasions, it can also lead to unconsciousness, even death from cardiac arrest or heart rhythm irregularities.
What to Do in Cases of Sting Injury
Minor stings can be treated using first aid techniques. Follow these steps when you or someone you know has been stung:
- If the stinger is still lodged on the skin, remove it by scraping a flat-edged object like credit card across the skin. Do not use tweezers when doing so, as it may only release more venom
- Wash the area and soak the wound in hot water (maximum of 45° C) for at least 30 mins. This is particularly necessary if you are stung by venomous fishes or Portuguese man-of-war
- Alternately, you can also apply a cold compress for about 10 mins. to help reduce pain
- If you are stung with a box jellyfish, rinse the wound with vinegar immediately
What NOT to do:
- Remove stingers without hand protection
- Raise the wound above heart level
- Take medicine unless instructed to do so by a healthcare provider
When to Seek Medical Assistance
On the other hand, it’s important to seek medical help immediately when you’re attacked by a stingray or stung on the sensitive body parts including face and genitals. It’s likewise necessary when you’re having:
- Severe pain
- Chest pain
- Extreme pain
- Prolonged fever
Surely, you don’t want to suffer an unfortunate fate when you’re supposed to be having fun on your summer outing. So, to avoid these unfriendly marine creatures, you must also inform yourself with the necessary precautions before plunging into the waters.
Nevertheless, have fun under the sun!
Did you love what you read? Which beach are you heading soon? Let us know by commenting below!
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