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Fire coral remedies

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by scubagruba, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. scubagruba

    scubagruba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, GA
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    Ok. I'm making sure I have everything I think I'll need for my liveaboard experience, but I'm not sure of one thing. What is a good solution/product for treatment of fire coral? I've heard that there's alot of fire coral in the Bahamas and would like to be somewhat prepared if some where to get on myself.

    I think I have all the other necessities....though probably not.
     
  2. Drew Sailbum

    Drew Sailbum Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Grand Cayman
    2,141
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    Our standard treatment is a three step process. The first step uses vinegar to kill any remaining stinging cells clinging to your skin. Next, apply heat, either hot pack or warm water, to help break down the toxin. Finally, apply hydrocortisone cream as necessary to reduce inflamation.
     
  3. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    Hi scubagruba,

    Here is the board history of discussion of this topic. It's all you'll need----> http://www.scubaboard.com/search.ph...d=119617&sortby=lastpost&sortorder=descending

    BTW, the Bahamas does not have a particular abundance of fire coral, and given good control of your diving, close attention to avoiding contact with marine life & and proper coverage, e.g., a full wetsuit & gloves, what there is of it should pose no problem.

    Have fun.

    DocVikingo
     
  4. DennisW

    DennisW Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sebastian, FL
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    The best treatment is prevention. Bouyancy control is the best thing you can do for preventing fire coral stings.

    Drew's treatments after you do get stung, and you may very well get stung, are right on the money. However, let me give you some other advise. Don't rub, scratch, or otherwise mess with a fire coral sting, it will only make it worse and spread. While you are in the water, fan the water over the sting with your hand, it will help. Maybe it washes the loose stinging cells away.

    As DocVikingo, said there isn't any more fire coral in the Bahamas than anywhere else I have dived in the Keys, maybe less. If I were you, I would concentrate on having fun. Enjoy.
     
  5. FredT

    FredT Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: The remains of the MS Gulf coast
    1,507
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    The slime from a queen conch seems to have an antitoxin for most coral, sponge and jellyfish stings. It's a Bahamian folk remedy that works pretty well.

    They are rare, and last I heard protected, in Fla water but seem be healthy and ubiquitous in grass beds on the Bahama banks. I prefer to take males since they have a prettier shell, and yield more meat. Besides which unlike human females lady conchs are willing to share a male so the population will remain stable even if it's short a few of the guys. Of course taking anything means dinner, so you'll also have to clean it and prepare your buddies a light snack. Cracked conch seveche is always good!

    BTW ask the divemaster what to do with the crystal stile!:D

    FT
     
  6. scubagruba

    scubagruba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, GA
    53
    0
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    Thank's for all the quick responses.

    I have never dove the Bahamas but a co-worker has so I was going on his "expert" opinions on the fire coral. According to him it's "everywhere". I guess I'm just a little too nervous about it. I have no problems with my bouyancy but what if my buddy does?
    Doesn't it spread in the water, with the current? That's what I was mostly worried about. Although, I'm not paranoid about it...or am I? !:)

    I'm just itchin' ,er...ready to go diving!

    Thanks again.


    As far as the conch, sounds good. Don't know about the stile though! :confused:
     
  7. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    Hi scubagruba,

    Fire coral really doesn't "spread in the water." While I suppose a few of the stinging cells (nematocysts) might get knocked about if your buddy kicked a stand of fire coral, you need direct contact with exposed skin for it to be problematic.

    Relax, go, have fun.

    DocVikingo
     
  8. scubagruba

    scubagruba Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Atlanta, GA
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    Thanks for the reply. I've asked some others buddies it "spreading" and they didn't know either way, yes or no.

    Got 2 more days!! :)
     
  9. Laurence Stein DDS

    Laurence Stein DDS Medical Moderator

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Miami, Florida
    877
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    scubagruba,

    Everyone's pretty much covered the treatments. I live in Florida and on any given weekend I've probably got my hand in a hole after a lobster.

    Fire Coral sounds like a death sentence. The truth is that, yeah, it stings--for a few minutes and then you forget about it.
    If you're wearing gloves and a skin, watching your bouyancy, the chances are it's not going to happen. The worst place to get a sting (in my opinion) is on the lip, neck or forehead. The good news is you're not gonna die. Portugese Man-of-War is much worse--that really hurts. If you are really allergic to the fire coral, you can choose to treat it aggressively. Otherwise, rinse with vinegar and go diving some more.

    Typically, a fire coral sting will leave a welt that is first red and then becomes kind of brownish. It may "weep"--feel wet to the touch for about a week. It may itch starting a day or so after exposure. In my own experience, hydrocortisone doesn't make it disappear any faster. You may see a skin discoloration for up to two weeks.

    Just ignore the sting unless you are really allergic or are having medical symptoms beyond the simple stinging. Any brush with coral can result in an infection--this is a different problem. Nearly every body lives after an exposure.

    A day lobstering without a fire coral sting means I haven't been diving. No problem mon.

    Come on guys...any of you been hit by fire coral? So how bad was it really? Let scubagruba know it wouldn't be so bad.

    Enjoy your trip. Oh, by the way...its Shark Season in the Bahamas now...enjoy--actually, the sharks say it's Divers Season.

    Larry Stein
     
  10. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    True, the majority of divers who have run-ins with fire coral find that it's no big thing, a nuisance.

    Some, however, have a very uncomfortable rash that may last weeks, and/or have it recur after initial signs/symptoms have disappeared. They may experience lymphadenopathy. In addition to developing an infection that can require treatment, hyperpigmentation can develop that requires treatment.

    Yes, most live to tell about it, but a very severe allergic reaction to such envenomation is probably more likely than mediastinal emphysema following a dental procedure.

    Best regards.

    DocVikingo
     

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