Marine Life Injury

ExitCare ImageSome marine animals may bite or sting (for example, jellyfish, sharks, eels, man-of-war, or sea anemones). Some may be poisonous (for example, lionfish, scorpionfish, stonefish, blue-ringed octopus, or cone shell). Others may cause wounds when you come in contact with them (sea urchin, crown of thorns, or coral). All of these injuries may be very painful. In addition to being very painful, marine life injuries can also cause very serious injuries. These can include allergic reactions or may cause anaphylactic shock. The wound may become infected from marine water, dirt, or foreign debris.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

  • The injury broke your skin.

If you got a tetanus shot, your arm may swell, get red, and feel warm to the touch. This is common and not a problem. If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, there is a rare chance of getting tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.


  • You may need to put your injured area under water that is as hot as you can stand without burning yourself. Only do this if your affected area is not already numb and you still have good feeling. Otherwise, you may risk burning yourself with the water.

  • Do not use the wounded area. For example, if your arm was stung or bitten, then refrain from use of that arm until your symptoms (pain, swelling, redness) improve.

  • Keep any bandages (dressings) clean and dry.

  • Change any dressings as told by your caregiver. If the dressing sticks, soak it in warm water. Rinse the wound and pat it dry.

  • Clean the wound 2 to 3 times a day with warm, soapy water.

  • Have your wound checked by your caregiver in 2 to 3 days to ensure good wound healing.

  • Have any stitches (sutures) removed as instructed by your caregiver.

  • Only take medicine as instructed by your caregiver.


  • Your wound starts to bleed more.

  • You have increasing pain, redness, or swelling in the wound.

  • You have yellowish white fluid (pus) coming from the wound.

  • You have red streaks going away from the wound.

  • There is a bad smell coming from the wound or dressing.


  • You have shortness of breath or tightness in the chest.

  • Your tongue swells or you experience difficulty talking or swallowing.

  • You have raised red patches on the skin that itch.

  • You become dizzy, weak, or pass out.

  • You have a bad headache or begin to shake uncontrollably.

  • You have a fever and or your symptoms suddenly get worse.

  • You have numbness or swelling below the wound that is getting worse.

  • You cannot move your joint below the wound or have intense pain just moving the joint a little bit.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous) or throw up (vomit).

  • You have diarrhea.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.