Injuries from Marine Creatures

As a first aider, you may encounter individuals with injuries from marine life forms. Read through this article to learn the general principles in the first aid for marine creature



Every year thousands of people flock the coastlines of Canada, many travelling across the globe to try out famous beaches. There is a growing number of people that is showing interest in marine activities such as surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and many other water activities. Thus, more people will come in contact with marine life forms, and the chances of injury and illness due to marine life forms is likely to increase.

As a first aider, you may encounter individuals requiring first aid for marine creature injuries. Poisoning, direct trauma, and envenomation can occur when you are in the marine environment.

Poisoning from marine creatures occur due to eating poisonous organisms, improperly prepared seafood, and punctures and stings. Individuals who have ingested contaminated, infested, or spoiled seafood may develop symptoms of neurologic or gastrointestinal, or mixed; some may even develop anaphylactic shock. Treatment of poisoning is the same as that of anaphylactic shock. Use of antihistamines, such as epinephrine, may be recommended. While providing first aid for marine creature injuries, be prepared for possible vomiting. For individuals showing symptoms of food poisoning, first aid is similar to that of all other food poisonings.

Envenomations can occur due to stings from venomous marine creatures such as the sea nettle, jellyfish, coral, hydra, and sea anemone. Common remedies for stings include the use of household vinegar which can help deactivate the poison, and manual removal of tentacles. In most cases, the sting causes pain but without major complications. Immersing the affected part in warm water can help minimize the pain and deactivate the venom. Observe the victim for possible allergic reactions or even anaphylactic shock. First aid for marine injuries is based on the symptoms of the patient. Stings to the face require doctor’s attention immediately.

Direct trauma can be caused by contact with marine life forms. Puncture wounds often result when someone accidentally steps on or grabs a sea urchin, stingray, spiny catfish, or other marine creatures with spiny built. Although soaking the injured body part in hot water can help deactivate the venom, transport to the nearest medical facility should not be delayed. Puncture wounds require immediate treatment by a physician, with the patient requiring anti-tetanus vaccine immediately. Furthermore, the victim can develop anaphylactic shock due to exposure to the venom.

Here are some general principles that must be considered when providing first aid for marine injuries.

  • Remove the victim from the water.Injuries from Marine Creatures
  • Ensure open airway and adequate breathing.
  • Control bleeding.
  • Keep the wet suit on, if the victim is wearing one.
  • Attempt to identify the cause of the injury.
  • Bring the victim to the nearest emergency facility immediately.
  • Cleanse and irrigate the wound under running water.

First aid for marine injuries can be learned by taking advanced first aid courses offered by workplace approved and its accredited training partners. Contact your local workplace approved chapter now to get their schedule.


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