Things to know when you enjoy sea bathing; what to do when you are stung by a sea creature



Summer has come and many people plan to go sea-bathing.

Sea bathing is, of course, fun.

However, before you go to beach for sea bathing, you need to know that the sea has some creatures that sting or bite you.

Today, I’m introducing what you need to know about sea creatures that possibly do you harm, the symptoms they may give you, and the way to deal with the injuries.



1. The creatures that may do you harm under the sea



I think jerryfish is one of the most famous creatures that injure people who enjoy sea bathing.

It’s true, but there are a great number of dangerous sea creatures that may sting or bite you while sea bathing.


* Jerryfish

It’s not exaggerated to say that jerryfish is a representative of dangerous sea creatures that may attack people.

Jerryfish has a toxin and stings, and they are stored in a kind of bag called nematocyst, most of which are on tentacles.

When people enjoy sea bathing and unfortunately touch tentacles of a jerryfish, they are stung.

It has been reported that there are types of jerryfish that bite human more often; Charybdea, known as the most notorious one, and Chironex yamaguchii (habu jerryfish) in Okinawa prefecture.

I strongly recommend that you have to be careful of jerryfishes when enjoying sea bathing, because jerryfishes are usually transparent and difficult to find in the sea.


* Hydroid

Hydroid, like jerryfish, is also a member of Cnidarias, which is a creature with stings and toxins in their nematocysts.

There are several kinds of hydroid that sting human while sea bathing; Physalia (known as “electric jerryfish” in Japan), and whiteleggie are the most famous ones.

Physalia looks like a baloon, and it’s transparent but some parts of it looks purple.

It’s seen along a coast after a typhoon has passed most frequently.

So, even the weather is perfect for sea bathing, you have to be careful of the creature.

Whiteleggie looks like white seaweeds. But it’s a creature which do you harm.


* Sea anemone and Coral

Do you know sea anemone and coral are also members of Cnidarias?

Here, you need to pay attention that some types of sea anemone and coral emit toxin when you touch them.

When you go sea-bathing in Okinawa, be careful of phyllodiscus, because it’s known as one of the most toxic sea anemones.

Megalactis hemprichii and zoanthid are also famous sea anemones that sting you.

About coral with toxins, flowerpot coral that live in the sea south of Kanto area.


* Starfish and echinus (echinoderm)

Some types of starfish and echinus have toxins.

Black longspine urchins, flower urchins and crown-of-thorns starfishes are the most notorious ones that many people get injured from them every year in sea-bathing sites.

In bad cases, their needles are left in skins when people touch them.


* Blue-ringed octopus

When the creature feels extrinsic stimuli, it turns blue.

Though it’s beautiful in the sea, it’s one of the most dangerous creatures because of having a neurotoxin that leads you to death in the worst case.


* Some fishes

Striped eel catfish and devil stinger are infamous ones that have toxins.

Though moray eel doesn’t have toxins, it has sharp teeth that give you serious injuries.


* Others

Some baby crabs and crayfishes floating in the sea as planktons have needles, and people sometimes get damaged from them.




2. Symptoms appeared when you are bitten/stung by sea creatures.


* Cnidarias

Symptoms vary from sea creatures that do you harm.

The major symptoms are that the part of skin that is stung smarts with pain, and you may have a burning pain on it.

Also, having rashes and swellings are the typical symptoms of the sting by Cnidarias.

In a bad case, you may have blisters and skin ulcers.

Symptoms appear not only on your skin.

It’s possible that you have a fever, vomiting, headache, a feeling of listlessness, oppression on the chest and dizziness, numbness, sour muscles and joint pains.

In a serious case, a patient stung by a cnidaria has anaphylactic shock which causes difficult breathing and cardiac arrest, which may lead to death.

It’s reported that people who were stung by a hub jerryfish or a physalia passed away because of the strong toxins.


* Echinoderm

When the stings of an echinoderm sticks on your skin, you may have a strong pain, numbness and sensory paralysis.

If the stings are left in the skin, it gets swollen, the wound festers and causes tissue necrosis in a bad case.


* Blue-ringed octopus

As I mentioned above, blue-ringed octopus has neurotoxin, which causes numbness on your face or lips.

You may have vision damage.

If the symptoms advance in severity, they cause difficult breathing and respiratory paralysis, which may lead to death.


* Zoea (a general term of baby crabs and crayfishes)

When you touch zoeas, you may have irritating pains on your skin.

You possibly have small red rashes, and you may feel itchy.

If you scratch the rashes, it may cause impetigo.




3.The ways to deal with the wounds


When you are enjoying sea-bathing and stung by a sea creature, firstly, rinse the wound off using seawater.

You shouldn’t use freshwater to rinse it off, for it may work to spread the toxin of a sea creature over the affected area.

Here using alcohol for disinfection is not a good way to deal with the affected area.

Alcohol may stimulate a cnidocyte which hasn’t been broken on your skin, which results in a more serious damage.

Vinegar is effective only for dealing with the wound from hub jerryfishes.

Please remember, you must not scratch the affected area when something stings or bites you.

When a tentacle is left on your skin, wear rubber gloves to get rid of it.

You couldn’t be too careful to sack out a toxin of a sea creature by your mouth, as it might be dangerous.

When you have general symptoms, go to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Especially, if you feel difficult to breath or feel dizzy, call an ambulance.


In order to enjoy sea-bathing without worrying about the dangerous sea creatures, it’s nice to do something to prevent yourself being stung or bitten by them.

Wearing a rash guard and sandals to cover your skin is effective to protect you from them.


Also, you should refrain from going sea-bathing during the season that there are many jerryfishes under the sea.


Of course it’s not a good idea to touch sea creatures with your bare hands.



How was it?

Sea bathing is fun for many people, and you couldn’t enjoy sea-bathing if you got sick by the dangerous sea creatures.

Before going sea-bathing, know the sea creatures which may do you harm, and take measures in order not to be stung or bitten by them.

Protecting yourself from the danger, and have a maximum fun in the sea!