Currently, there are about 940 species of sea urchins. Unusual animals, in a sense, are even beautiful, but getting to know them can be very unpleasant. Some sea urchins are dangerous to humans, as they contain poison in needles. The most dangerous sea urchins are found in subtropical and tropical seas. It is not worth exaggerating the danger of sea urchins, but if a person has an allergy or injections of a sea urchin are too numerous, then the help of a doctor will be required. Single injections in most cases are not life-threatening, but very unpleasant and painful.
Sea urchin is a bottom animal, therefore it is possible to meet them only in shallow water or diving near coral reefs. Late in the evening, as the hedgehogs begin to get dark, they crawl closer to the shore, this is the most dangerous moment for humans. Since bathing at lunch time you did not see any danger, but returning to the same place a few hours later, in the evening, at that very place there may already be several tens of hedgehogs. It so happens that a gaping bather comes on a hedgehog, leaving the water, or touches him, swimming in shallow water.
(photo) sea urchin
The consequences of an injection of sea urchin
Sensations are not pleasant. The victim feels a sharp pain and burning sensation. The injection site quickly turns red and swells. It is practically impossible to remove the needles from the tissues like a splinter, as they have jagged edges and are very fragile. The deeper the needle penetrated the soft tissue, the more difficult it was to get it. Poisonous needles remaining in the victim’s body will cause severe pain for several hours.
Occasionally, an injured person may experience breathing difficulties and heart problems. If such symptoms are observed, the victim needs to have artificial respiration and, in some cases, a heart massage.
Sometimes people with a high allergic status may experience unwanted reactions to injections of sea urchins, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or severe swelling. In this case, the victim should take an antihistamine and consult a doctor.
What to do if pricked a sea urchin?
The very first thing to do is get out of the water. There were times when people, having received a strong injection, simply lost their orientation from severe pain and drowned.
If the needles went deep, then you should, without hesitation, consult a surgeon. After all, if you do not remove the thorns from the wound in time, they will cause inflammation and infection, followed by suppuration.
If the needles went no deeper than the skin and can be seen, then you can tell you are lucky, there are several ways to help the victim.
- The simplest, but for those who can endure pain, easily accessible and, perhaps, the most effective, but effective only in those cases when the needle did not enter deeply, within the skin. If possible, the wound is disinfected (alcohol, hand disinfection gel, potassium permanganate). Then the injection site is treated with lime or lemon juice (acid dissolves the needles). If there is a possibility, it is better to warm the juice to a maximum temperature at which it will be tolerated to use (about 50 ° C). At such a high temperature, the needles dissolve much faster. Then, with a smooth pebble (it is also necessary to disinfect it, if possible), needles are broken. You need to hit right on the wound and hard enough. But try not to cause additional injuries. The procedure is a little painful, but if you do not, the wound will become inflamed and will hurt even more. The needles of sea urchins are very fragile, so breaking them with a pebble will not be difficult.
After you crumble all the needles, again pour the wound with lemon juice to dissolve their remnants and disinfect again. You may need to repeat the procedure with a pebble several times. At the end of the procedure, you will need to very well disinfect the wound, grease with iodine or brilliant green. If possible, consult a doctor so that he examines the wound.
- The second method is a bit more complicated, available only at home. But can remove deep-set needles. The wound is also washed, disinfected and watered with lime juice. Then the damaged place is steamed in such hot water as the victim can tolerate. It is important not to overdo it, and not get a burn. Steaming should last at least 30 minutes. In this case, the needles in the wound simply dissolve. Subsequent antibiotic treatment.
- The third method is less painful but also less effective than the previous two, but it also has a place to be.
A clean, sanitized wound is applied with a hot vegetable oil dressing. The oil temperature should be within 40 ° C.
After 30-60 minutes, you can try to squeeze out the needles like a splinter. But do not push too hard so that they do not break. After all the thorns have been removed, the wound is washed with boiled water, the remaining oil is removed, disinfected, and treated with an antibiotic.
Features of sea urchins
What does a sea urchin look like, those who visited the waters of the Gulf of Thailand know. There it is most common. But there are species that live north. For example, a green sea urchin prefers the northern waters of the Atlantic, the Pacific Ocean, etc. There are several varieties of sea urchins that tourists most often encounter:
• sea urchin gray,
• sea urchin green,
• sea urchin black.
It is the black sea urchin - the most poisonous and most dangerous, but other species may also contain toxins.
It is interesting to note that these animals often migrate. So, at a certain time they are combined into whole colonies. They look very menacing - like a huge forest of needles. You should not approach these sea creatures at such a moment, as they can be very aggressive. And if you step on a sea urchin, the consequences will be rather unpleasant.
What is the danger of needles
Sea urchins are animals that live at the bottom of reservoirs near the shore. In most cases, they do not attack people, but if you step on them, injuries cannot be avoided. An injection of a sea urchin is very painful. The patient immediately feels a burning sensation, a sharp pain. The injection site becomes red and swollen. The needles of a sea urchin in the leg begin to act instantly - the toxin enters the bloodstream, as if injected with a syringe.
The needles of a sea urchin tend to get stuck in the tissues in the same way as the sting of some insects. And at the same time, it is very important to get these parts of the animal’s body, although it is difficult to do so. This is due to the special structure of the needles. They are made of organosilicon compound, which is very fragile. The needle has a hollow structure inside and many notches on the outside. And if you try to remove it from the body, it immediately breaks. It is enough for a sea urchin to lose one needle to be saved and cause much trouble to its offender. A person needs to get the animal’s biomaterial as soon as possible in order to get rid of possible toxins.
Of course, the poison that comes from the needles of a sea urchin is not strong enough to kill a person. In addition, it is contained in a minimum amount, as it is designed for smaller animals. But in some people, its ingestion causes severe anaphylactic shock, even leading to death.
As for the needle itself, it can provoke the development of purulent inflammation and other problems. So, if in the first minutes after the injection an immediate allergic reaction does not develop, it is necessary to proceed to the removal of the hedgehog needles in order to prevent suppuration of the skin.
Rules for first aid after an injection of sea urchin
So, if stepped on a sea urchin, how to pull out the needles? How to protect the skin of the limbs from possible suppuration?
First of all, you need to find out which animal you are dealing with. Indeed, in the ocean, not only hedgehogs, but also other organisms can sting and attack with thorns. And the principles of pre-medical and further medical care differ significantly depending on the type of poison.
As soon as there was a feeling that the thorns of a sea urchin were stuck in the leg, it is recommended to get out of the water as soon as possible. Toxins can begin to act so quickly that a person will lose consciousness. And this can lead to drowning, even in shallow waters. Next, you need to examine the injection site. The needle should be clearly visible. If it is in the joint area or has gone too deep into the limb, it is recommended that you do not pull it out yourself, but immediately go to the hospital. In other cases, you can use the following methods to remove the spines of a sea urchin.
So, if the wound is only superficial, and the needle itself is under the skin, without affecting muscle and joint tissues, directly on the beach, you can perform the following manipulations:
• disinfect the skin surface in the affected area, for which any alcohol solution, including perfume, is suitable,
• organosilicon compounds (namely, the needles of this sea creature are made up of) easily dissolve in an acidic environment, so you can get a mixture of lemon juice and table vinegar to treat it with the injection site,
• destroy the needle itself with a blow of a clean little stone,
• re-treat the wound using any antiseptic ointment.
The second method involves more dramatic actions. Usually its use implies that a person has come home and can provide more substantial assistance to himself. Actions should be as follows:
• treat the affected area with an alcohol solution,
• after removing the alcohol, treat the wound with a weak acid solution (for example, table vinegar),
• expose the injection site by treatment in hot water to steam it into the skin (it is important not to get additional injuries and burns),
• re-treat the wound using an ointment with antiseptic properties.
It is not always possible to steam the injection site. Sometimes there are no relevant conditions for this. Then you can warm the vegetable oil, soak a rag with it and attach it to the wound. But in this case, you need to be even more careful with the temperature regime, since it is very easy to get a burn from an oil compress. The application time should be about an hour. Then you can remove the remaining needles by extruding. We must try to prevent their complete destruction. Next, check whether all foreign particles are removed from under the skin, and then wipe the affected area with warm water and an antiseptic ointment.
Sometimes, even after carrying out these actions, the pain does not go away, and the wound begins to fester. In this case, it is better to go to the hospital right away!
Sea urchin injections are a frequent and not so scary phenomenon. Therefore, do not panic if this situation happened to you or your loved ones. Also, do not punish the animal for what happened, since you can get even more needles under the skin.