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Technodynamic
June 14th, 2004, 05:14 PM
Hello, new to these boards. I found this forum and figured it was the best place to ask (gotta love the internet).

While in Carriacou I was wadling in water about 5 feet deep, roughly 20 yards out when a small wave pushed me a few feet from my location. My curious foot felt its way back to the ground only to land right on top of a sea urchin. I didn't see it, but after the initial sharp pain (thought I stabbed my foot in sharp shells) I started to swim back to shore. Before I even got to the shore I realized that there was a sting associated with it and I had stepped on something. When I looked I had 28 little black dots peppered all along my right foot. This urchin hit the jackpot on me. The local boat crew said it would go away in time, that I could pee on it, soak it in sweet water (regular tap water), and one guy saaid to smoke a cig and put the hot tip on the wounds for a second to kill the tips that are still in the skin. I chose to suck it up and do nothing until later when I got home I soaked it in water for awhile which did nothing. It hurt bad for 15 minutes, had some mild sting for about 2 hours and then was just a pain to walk on form then on.

Now, 3 days later I can walk around, but I am still hobbling around with 28 black dots still in my foot, I tried using tweezers but I was unable to get a single one out. The pain while walking is decresing slowly and steadly, but at this rate it will take a week and a half to be normal, and even then I don't know if the black dots will be gone.

Should I bother waiting or sould I just see a doc? No other symptoms of anything. The black dots have a little purplish color around them. They don't hurt unless pressure is put on them, then it feels like a bruise with a splinter in it.

Advice?

Knavey
June 14th, 2004, 06:10 PM
Go see a doc now. The danger of infection is too great a risk to wait. My wife had an encounter with a sea urchin on her first OW dive...17 spines and a trip to the docs office. They will put you on antibiotics among other things. They were digging the spines out like splinters, and giving her a shot of local antisthetic at each punture point, but the pain from the shots was worse than them digging so she just told them to dig them out.

I would not delay getting treatment. Infection could cause problems in the future that you do NOT want to deal with.

Scubakevdm
June 14th, 2004, 06:17 PM
I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV, but folks around here just leave the barbs in.

cancun mark
June 14th, 2004, 06:21 PM
I have found two different local remedies.

The first is thai, and involves putting lime juice (to disolve the spines) and a rock (to smash the spines into smallter lumps.

I DO NOT recommend this.

the second is Fijian:

Take ripe papaya (or kiwifruit if no papaya is available) and place on the effected area for about 20-30 minutes. The meat tenderizing enzymes in these fruit will soften the skin so much in that time that the spines can be removed with tweezers or a needle.

I DO recommend this technique.

Whatever you do, get some local antibiotic powder or ointment to aviod the infection that Knavey mentioned.

hdtran
June 14th, 2004, 06:43 PM
Merck's manual writes that heat inactivates toxins (though only a minority of sea urchins carry venom in their spines), so you should also consider a hot water soak for 30 minutes in water as hot as you can tolerate without burning yourself.

Best of luck, and consider Aquasocks (or similar generic waterproof beach footwear)!

aquaoren
June 16th, 2004, 02:19 AM
Hello, new to these boards. I found this forum and figured it was the best place to ask (gotta love the internet).

While in Carriacou I was wadling in water about 5 feet deep, roughly 20 yards out when a small wave pushed me a few feet from my location. My curious foot felt its way back to the ground only to land right on top of a sea urchin. I didn't see it, but after the initial sharp pain (thought I stabbed my foot in sharp shells) I started to swim back to shore. Before I even got to the shore I realized that there was a sting associated with it and I had stepped on something. When I looked I had 28 little black dots peppered all along my right foot. This urchin hit the jackpot on me. The local boat crew said it would go away in time, that I could pee on it, soak it in sweet water (regular tap water), and one guy saaid to smoke a cig and put the hot tip on the wounds for a second to kill the tips that are still in the skin. I chose to suck it up and do nothing until later when I got home I soaked it in water for awhile which did nothing. It hurt bad for 15 minutes, had some mild sting for about 2 hours and then was just a pain to walk on form then on.

Now, 3 days later I can walk around, but I am still hobbling around with 28 black dots still in my foot, I tried using tweezers but I was unable to get a single one out. The pain while walking is decresing slowly and steadly, but at this rate it will take a week and a half to be normal, and even then I don't know if the black dots will be gone.

Should I bother waiting or sould I just see a doc? No other symptoms of anything. The black dots have a little purplish color around them. They don't hurt unless pressure is put on them, then it feels like a bruise with a splinter in it.

Advice?
The spines are foreign bodies that are causing a local inflamation that you feel.
You have 2 choices:
1) Visit a doc, get them removed and if you'll take the antibiotics they'll prescribe you and there will be no further complication, in couple of days it will be only a bad memory
2) Listen to all kind of grandma's healing receipies (no pun intended), leave them in place and wait until the body will heal itself, which may take couple of weeks if there will be no complications.

If they are burried deep, than a superficial antibiotic powder or ointment would most likely not do it.
IMHO make a smart choice and visit a doc

mania
June 16th, 2004, 03:08 AM
It also happened to me once. Unfortunately there was no doctor around so I had to solve the problem by myself. The Mediterranean sea urchins have toxins so I had to get rid of it all. It took me an hour, sharp needle and....a bottle of whiskey (used both - internally and externally). I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TREATMENT

Two days later I went to see a doc - and he said it's good I took is out. But for the next time - he said - see the doctor immediately because of two reasons - one mentioned already - inflammation and the second - traces of toxin could cause also a strong allergic reaction.

So go to the doctor

Mania

miketsp
June 16th, 2004, 07:56 AM
Some comments about Sea Urchins:

Seek immediate medical care if any breathing problems develop.
CPR may be required.

Spines that penetrate at or near a joint usually require surgical removal. Seek the care of a physician if you feel spines have been retained in the hand or foot, or near a joint. They may need to be removed surgically, to minimize infection, inflammation, and damage to nerves or important blood vessels.

Use tweezers to remove any accessible spines in the wound.
Carefully remove any readily visible spines. Do not dig around in the skin to fish them out — this risks crushing the spines and making them more difficult to remove. Do not intentionally crush the spines. Purple or black markings in the skin immediately after a sea urchin encounter do not necessarily indicate the presence of a retained spine fragment. Such discoloration is more likely dye leached from the surface of a spine, commonly from a black urchin (Diadema spp.). The dye will be absorbed over 24 to 48 hours, and the discoloration will disappear. If there are still black markings after 48 to 72 hours, then a spine fragment is likely present.

Immerse the wound in nonscalding hot water as hot as the victim can tolerate (110 to 113° Fahrenheit, or 43.3 to 45° Celsius) for 30-90 minutes. Repeat as necessary to control pain.
This frequently provides pain relief. Administer appropriate pain medicine.

After soaking in hot water apply shaving cream and gently scrap with a razor to remove pedicellaria (pincer-like structures which are located on the surface of echinoderms to protect them from small animals or larvae that might settle on the body surface).

Another method is to apply melted wax to your injury (use caution), allow the wax to set, and then peel it off to remove the tiny spines.

Scrub the wound with soap and water followed by extensive flushing with fresh water.

Do not close the wound with tape.

If signs of infection, such as pus, redness, or heat occur, apply topical antibiotic ointment.

Oral antibiotics are usually recommended for infection. If infection develops, continue antibiotics for at least 5 days after all signs of infection have cleared. Check for drug allergy prior to starting any antibiotic. Your doctor will recommend the right antibiotic. Some can cause sensitivity to the sun, so use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15).

Relieve pain with 1-2 tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol) pain relievers every 4 hours and/or 1-2 ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 6-8 hours.

Some sea urchins are covered with sharp venom-filled spines that can easily penetrate and break off into the skin, or with small pincerlike appendages that grasp the victim and inoculate him with venom from a sac within the pincer. Sea urchin punctures or stings are painful wounds, most often of the hands or feet. If a person receives many wounds simultaneously, the reaction may be so severe as to cause difficulty in breathing, weakness, and collapse.

If the wound shows signs of infection (extreme redness, pus, swollen regional lymph glands) or a spine has penetrated deeply into a joint, the victim should be started on an antibiotic to oppose Vibrio bacteria (ciprofloxacin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, or doxycycline).

If a spine puncture in the palm of the hand results in a persistent swollen finger without any sign of infection (fever, redness, swollen lymph glands in the elbow or armpit), then it may become necessary to treat a 150 pound, or 68 kilogram, victim with a seven-day course of oral prednisone in a tapering dose (begin with 70 milligrams and decrease by 10 milligrams per day). Corticosteroids should always be taken with the understanding that a rare side effect is serious deterioration of the head (“ball” of the ball-and-socket joint) of the femur, the long bone of the thigh.




* * * * * * * * * * * *
I am not a doctor and the information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It is provided for your general information and is not a substitute for medical care or supervised medical treatment. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions

Scuba65
June 16th, 2004, 03:25 PM
Ok..my hubby gets tons of those every yr. while lobstering. he's has become too immune to them. but, on the first time it happened he tried getting them out, and he couldn't, he went to the doctors and they told him to just leave them that they would go away eventually. And yes, they did go away eventually, but it did take a while to get rid off them and now he has scars to prove it.

StueyinDeep
June 17th, 2004, 03:41 AM
Impressive post miketsp! Great information.

Now hold on; here was I about to send a link to DAN's article about Sea-urchins (http://diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/faq.asp?faqid=93)
but seeing it I realise that miketsp has just lifted the entire page and is parading it around as his own work. I don't know about you, mike, but where I come from that's called plagiarism. You should be ashamed of yourself. Cite your references.

My ankle took a couple of spines once in Thailand and it swelled up to twice normal size yet other times when I took them elsewhere nothing happened....

miketsp
June 17th, 2004, 07:24 AM
Impressive post miketsp! Great information.

Now hold on; here was I about to send a link to DAN's article about Sea-urchins (http://diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/faq.asp?faqid=93)
but seeing it I realise that miketsp has just lifted the entire page and is parading it around as his own work. I don't know about you, mike, but where I come from that's called plagiarism. You should be ashamed of yourself. Cite your references.

My ankle took a couple of spines once in Thailand and it swelled up to twice normal size yet other times when I took them elsewhere nothing happened....

First, I said I wasn't a doctor so obviously was not claiming that this was any professional opinion.
Second, I did not just lift this off one source.
When there is a single source for material it is my custom just to publish a link as you will see in many of my other posts.

Very little of what is on the Internet is original.
What I published is a collection from more than 4 different sources including some course notes from some time ago.
The DAN page itself is also an extraction from another article which in turn has paragraphs from other pages, some of which are identical, others aren't.

Some of the paragraphs you will find on multiple web sites - I just checked using Google. Others you will not.

PS: I was not aware of the DAN page until your post, nor the name of the original author of the article - Paul S. Auerbach, M.D., M.S.
Pieces of this article appear with small variations on many other sites without reference to the author.

The Kraken
June 17th, 2004, 07:43 AM
Stueyindeep,

WHO CARES !?!?!?!?

Hopefully he helped someone solve a minor medical problem.

CuriousMe
June 17th, 2004, 10:42 AM
Stueyindeep,

Another method is to apply melted wax to your injury (use caution), allow the wax to set, and then peel it off to remove the tiny spines. .

Another way to accomplish this without the heat is use the cold wax kits that women use to wax their legs.

No muss, no fuss, no scalding yourself with wax :)

Peace,
Cathie

StueyinDeep
June 18th, 2004, 04:14 AM
Another way to accomplish this without the heat is use the cold wax kits that women use to wax their legs.

Now that's golden. Another reason to take the wife on my dive trips!!

(Just kidding; she's a dive pro too! :) )

Foo
June 20th, 2004, 08:36 PM
[QUOTE=StueyinDeep]Impressive post miketsp! Great information.

Now hold on; here was I about to send a link to DAN's article about Sea-urchins (http://diversalertnetwork.org/medical/faq/faq.asp?faqid=93)
but seeing it I realise that miketsp has just lifted the entire page and is parading it around as his own work. I don't know about you, mike, but where I come from that's called plagiarism. You should be ashamed of yourself. Cite your references.

QUOTE]

Not once while I was reading miketsp's post, did I think that he had created all that technical info by himself, nor did it seem as if he were trying to pass it off as such. It was obvious medical information derived from another source, some of it fairly common knowledge, and some of it new to me. My point is, that I don't feel that he was attempting to fool anyone into thinking that this was his original work. I, on the other hand, appreciated the fact that someone took the time to compile/copy the info and share it with us. Most of us occasionally do a Google search to find info to support a post, there's really not that much new under the sun, is there?

Foo

StueyinDeep
June 21st, 2004, 02:41 AM
miketsp said:
First, I said I wasn't a doctor blah blah

Foo said:
Not once blah blah blah

Before miketsp's defence gets out of hand; my apologies. As you can see from my stats on the left there I am relatively new to the SB forums and, apparently, unwise to the intricacies of the posting system here. I shall make sure that I read a lot more before I hasten to make another post.
In my defense I can only say that during my education I was taught that sources needed to be referenced and that the author of any piece of work that contradicted this rule was guilty of plagirism; that the author was passing off the work as his own.

Next time I shall ask where the information came from before I flame and will be grateful when posters cite it.

Apologies again.

Stuey

Rick Murchison
June 21st, 2004, 08:00 AM
That's enough discussion on plagiarism...
Here is the DAN article. Everyone can now decide on their own.
Rick
---------------
DAN says:
"Some sea urchins are covered with sharp venom-filled spines that can easily penetrate and break off into the skin. Others (found in the South Pacific) may have small pincerlike appendages that grasp their victims and inoculate them with venom from a sac within each pincer.
Sea urchin punctures or stings are painful wounds, most often of the hands or feet. If a person receives many wounds simultaneously, the reaction may be so severe as to cause extreme muscle spasm, difficulty in breathing, weakness and collapse.

The Treatment

Immerse the wound in non-scalding hot water to tolerance (110 to 113 F / 43.3 to 45 C). This frequently provides pain relief. Other field remedies, such as application of vinegar or urine, are less likely to diminish the pain. If necessary, administer pain medication appropriate to control the pain.

Carefully remove any readily visible spines. Do not dig around in the skin to try to fish them out - this risks crushing the spines and making them more difficult to remove. Do not intentionally crush the spines. Purple or black markings in the skin immediately after a sea urchin encounter do not necessarily indicate the presence of a retained spine fragment. The discoloration more likely is dye leached from the surface of a spine, commonly from a black urchin (Diadema species). The dye will be absorbed over 24 to 48 hours, and the discoloration will disappear. If there are still black markings after 48 to 72 hours, then a spine fragment is likely present.

If the sting is caused by a species with pincer organs, use hot water immersion, then apply shaving cream or a soap paste and shave the area.

Seek the care of a physician if spines are retained in the hand or foot, or near a joint. They may need to be removed surgically, to minimize infection, inflammation and damage to nerves or important blood vessels.

If the wound shows any sign of infection (extreme redness, pus, swollen regional lymph glands) or if a spine has penetrated deeply into a joint, the injured person (particularly one with impairment of his or her immune system) should be started by a qualified health professional on an antibiotic, taking into consideration the possibility of a Vibrio infection (see #4 under "Coral Scrapes).

If a spine puncture in the palm of the hand results in a persistent swollen finger(s) without any sign of infection (fever, redness, swollen lymph glands in the elbow or armpit), then it may become necessary to treat the injured person with a seven- to 14-day course of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (e.g., ibuprofen) or, in a more severe case, oral prednisone, a corticosteroid medication.
For more information on marine life injuries, see the complete article by Paul S. Auerbach, M.D., M.S. on Marine Life Trauma from the Jan/Feb 1998 issue of Alert Diver."

Technodynamic
June 21st, 2004, 09:25 AM
Hereis an update for all of you, and thank you for all your input.

After 6 days of mild improvment, I decided to see the doc. The spines were still there as big as ever after 6 days, so I didn't see any end in sight in the near future Also, the are began to itch a little, which I feared may be the beginning of an infection.

I went to my primary care doc who quickly said I should see a podietrist. So very luckiy I got an appointment to a podietrist an hour and a half later. When there he looked and got a medical tweezer and a scalpal and starrting trying to take them out. Having trouble he took me to his surgery room where I could be elevated so my foot was at his head level. Oe by one he scraped and then poked with the tweezer to try and get them out. At times it was excrutiating and was very painful. He said a shot in the localized areas to numb it would be more painful than the procedure, so I just took his word for it and went throgh the 30 minute procedure.

He was able to get them all out (I think), but the areas still feel bruised. While I am able to walk on it on cushy carpet, it is still easier to want to go on a tippy toe and avoid weight on it (3 days later). All in all the removal through the doctor was WORSE than receiveing them from the urchin, but I guess it had to be done since I could not get them out myself and they were not healing or going away. Ugg.

aquaoren
June 21st, 2004, 11:42 AM
Hereis an update for all of you, and thank you for all your input.

After 6 days of mild improvment, I decided to see the doc. The spines were still there as big as ever after 6 days, so I didn't see any end in sight in the near future Also, the are began to itch a little, which I feared may be the beginning of an infection.

I went to my primary care doc who quickly said I should see a podietrist. So very luckiy I got an appointment to a podietrist an hour and a half later. When there he looked and got a medical tweezer and a scalpal and starrting trying to take them out. Having trouble he took me to his surgery room where I could be elevated so my foot was at his head level. Oe by one he scraped and then poked with the tweezer to try and get them out. At times it was excrutiating and was very painful. He said a shot in the localized areas to numb it would be more painful than the procedure, so I just took his word for it and went throgh the 30 minute procedure.

He was able to get them all out (I think), but the areas still feel bruised. While I am able to walk on it on cushy carpet, it is still easier to want to go on a tippy toe and avoid weight on it (3 days later). All in all the removal through the doctor was WORSE than receiveing them from the urchin, but I guess it had to be done since I could not get them out myself and they were not healing or going away. Ugg.
Smart choice,
Without being taken out, the body would have needed many weeks to deal with the foreign bodies(spines). Now in about a week or two, everything will be over and only a bad memory. Did you get antibiotics to prevent a further infection or did the doc consider it to be unneccessary?

StueyinDeep
June 21st, 2004, 01:22 PM
I have to agree with Oren; I seem to recall my ankle taking a good week for just the swelling to start to go down. I was dry for well over a week much to my boss' displeasure..

I do recall taking some antibiotics tho..

Foo
June 21st, 2004, 11:48 PM
Foo said:
Not once blah blah blah

Does this mean we kissed and made up? ;)

Foo

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