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Fire Coral Nightmare!

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by AtMyWitsEnd, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. AtMyWitsEnd

    AtMyWitsEnd Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Jersey
    4
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    Just found this forum, thankfully! Snorkeling in Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands on Feb. 1, 2012. Couldn't make it back to shore because I'm not a strong swimmer and waves were rough and tired me out so I tried to rest on rocks...felt like something was sucking my leg, panicked and climbed up rocks to get back to shore. Found small brown sticky circles and tried to wash them off with sea water.

    10 minutes later, made it to shore to the bar restaurant and my legs were on fire. Nurse who works at the bar gave me benadryl, vinegar. I put ice and washed with water in a basin (later found out it was a mistake to do that). Driven to local clinic to receive IV of antihistamine, hydrocortisone mix (500 mg max dosage) and later applied a topical hydrocortisone.

    Day 2- legs still burning. Took prednisone 25 mg (5 day reduction), piriton (anti-hist), and voltaren (anti-inflam). Legs finally stopped burning on Sat. (day4)

    Day 6 - went to ER in NYC, legs were healing, doc did CBC everything was ok and told me my knee was also sprained. Last 5mg dose of prednisone.

    Day 8 - went to dr at school for knee pain, they told me the healing was going well and not to use neosporin anymore, just cortisone)

    Day 10 - woke up and my legs are on fire again, this time bright red in color and inflamed and much darker bumps.
    Day 11 - back to dr, back on prednisone for 10 days starting at 60mg. Still itching a lot!!

    I don't know what to do anymore, these burns are bad!!! Never seen anything like this. Is this fire coral or something else??? I need some expert help here, anybody have any advice or could I have been stung by something else?? PLEASE SEE PICTURES Day 1, Day 1, Day 5, Day 13, Day 13
    2012-02-01_20-14-22_629.jpg 2012-02-01_20-14-36_115.jpg 2012-02-04_03-16-10_686.jpg 2012-02-13_00-07-57_90.jpg 2012-02-13_00-08-16_453.jpg
     
  2. COWSskateGOOD

    COWSskateGOOD Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Venice, Florida
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    Wow, I am no expert but I am interested in following this post.... good luck and I hope someone finds a solution for you quickly. You may receive more insight if this is moved to an appropriate forum, its posted in the intro and greetings page.....
     
  3. Pullmyfinger

    Pullmyfinger PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Iwakuni, Japan
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    I've had my foot scratched up pretty bad by fire coral in Palau. I spent about 20 minutes in the shower scrubbing as hard as a I could with a wash cloth and soap. I wanted to make sure I got any small coral particles out.

    A friend of mine on Guam got fire coral on one of his legs and didn't spend a lot of time scrubbing it out......this was years ago, and he still has red spots on his legs........I'm told that the coral particles end up under the skin as the area heals and they just stay there forever.

    Hearing that......I made sure I scrubbed like crazy.

    Hopefully an expert will chime in....my only frame of reference is what my friend experienced, and what I later did.

    It could just be coincidental.

    -Mitch
     
  4. mselenaous

    mselenaous The Handler Staff Member

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Key Largo, FL... Dive Capital of the World
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  5. COWSskateGOOD

    COWSskateGOOD Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Venice, Florida
    106
    67
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    Absolutely worth the money of joining as well..... (I wont start this though there are plenty of posts talking about the benefits)
     
  6. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
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    As Elena says, contact DAN.

    From an earlier fire coral thread on this forum - Use a mixture of Benadryl gel / creame and hydrocortisone cream (max %).

    Benadryl first, then the hydrocortisone. Carry them with you. so when it acts up, you can reapply. Expect to be doing this for two weeks after the "second coming".

    I got hit on one hand, then a few days later, on the other. It reappeared about two weeks later on the first hand, then that same number of days later on the other hand.
     
  7. AtMyWitsEnd

    AtMyWitsEnd Garibaldi

    # of Dives:
    Location: New Jersey
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    thank you all so much for your concern, I hope so too! I emailed DAN last night so hopefully I can be referred to a specialist in the NYC or New Jersey area. I'm just thankful that nothing worse happened, but the experience has been pretty frightening to say the least.
     
  8. Duke Dive Medicine

    Duke Dive Medicine Scuba Media & Publications

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    Hi Wits,
    Excellent photos. It looks like you might have some retained fragments, for example, spicules from a sponge. You also may still be recovering from the effects of fire coral nematocyst discharge. In an acute sponge envenomation, it's effective to use duct tape to remove the spicules, but that would be questionable at this point.
    If the rash continues to spread or changes character, i.e. pain, swelling, warmth, and/or fever, you should see a physician immediately to rule out cellulitis.
    In general, topical corticosteroids and antihistamines can be effective in relieving symptoms like this. Please keep us posted!

    Best regards,
    DDM
     
  9. Jax

    Jax Responsibility Dodger ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: AZ TX
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    Thanks for the tape tip! :thumb:
     
  10. yodelhawk

    yodelhawk Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Great Falls, Montana
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    I know all of us in the medical comunity are going to be watching this post close. I am new to diving and do not work close to the ocean so I am of no help. I know you posted here looking for help and there have been a few with good advice. Please keep us in the loop and let us know the outcome. Thanks and good luck!
     

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