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Marine Animal Bite or Sting

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is a marine animal bite or sting?

A marine animal bite or sting happens when you are poisoned or wounded by an animal that lives in salt water. Marine animals that bite include barracudas, moray eels, and sharks. Animals that inject poison through tentacles include Portuguese man-of-war, jellyfish, and sea anemones. Broken tentacles can still sting for weeks or months after being separated from the animal, even if they are dried. Animals that sting with spines or barbs include stingrays and sea urchins.

What are the signs and symptoms of a marine animal bite?

What are the signs and symptoms of a marine animal sting?

How is a marine animal bite or sting diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask you to describe your symptoms and will examine the injured area. Tell your provider all the details you know about the bite or sting, including when it occurred and if you saw what happened. Your provider will check to see how deep the wound is and look for signs of infection. You may need the following:

How is a marine animal bite or sting treated?

Treatment depends on which marine animal caused the injury, and the location and how bad the injury is. It also depends on how long you have had the injury and if other body parts were affected. You may need any of the following:

How should I care for a bite wound?

How should I care for a sting wound?

If tentacles are attached, soak your skin in vinegar for at least 10 minutes before you remove them. Do not use alcohol. Alcohol may cause the tentacle to fire more poison. Put on gloves before you do the following:

What can I do to prevent a marine animal bite or sting?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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