Coral cuts

Coral cuts can occur since their exoskeletons can be sharp and rigid. Injuries can occur after accidental contact that usually leaves a small amount of animal protein and calcareous substance in the wound.

Even though coral cuts are relatively small and appear harmless, they might rapidly develop into infected wounds.

Take note that some corals have nematocysts which can cause significant injury. In some cases, an abrasion or cut from a coral might expose the open skin to other pathogens present in the water.

What are the indications?

  • The swollen, inflamed, reddened and tender and oftentimes itchy wound might progress into a festering ulcer or sore with drainage.
    cone snail sting

    The initial step is to scrub the site of the coral cuts with water and soap and flush with water right away after exposure to the coral.

  • Radiating redness of the skin around the site of the coral cuts indicates spreading infection and requires prompt medical care.
  • Red-colored streaks moving up an extremity along with the drainage of pus or the formation of blisters necessitates medical attention.

Management of coral cuts

  • The initial step is to scrub the site of the coral cuts with water and soap and flush with water right away after exposure to the coral.
  • In case the coral cuts sting, it must be rinsed with vinegar or isopropyl alcohol to lessen the effects of any irritating toxins especially those generated by the fire coral.
  • Flush the abrasion or wound with a solution of ½ water and ½ hydrogen peroxide to eliminate any coral dust and flush with fresh water.
  • Rinse the coral cuts daily and place an antibiotic per day.
  • Take note that oral antibiotics are generally suggested to lower the risk for infection. In case infection arises, the antibiotic should be taken at least 5 days after all signs of infection has settled.
  • If there is no infection or open wound present, an over-the-counter steroid ointment can be utilized to lessen the itchiness for a brief period.
  • The pain caused by coral cuts can be alleviated with pain medications.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on coral cuts is for learning purposes only. Learn properly manage a wound by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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