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Hazardous Marine Life Encounters

Over 1,000 species of Marine animals can cause injuries to humans.

A Great White Shark
Photo by Hermanus Backpackers, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license


Bites are associated with sharks, barracuda, and moray eels. There are thirty-two shark species known to attack humans but only five show consistency: the Great White Shark, Tiger, Bull Shark and Oceanic White Tip. However, in an average year less than one-hundred people are attacked by sharks.

Contact Irritants / Toxins

Many Marine species can cause contact irritation. Fire sponges and red beard sponge are most common. The sting from fire coral is caused by an injection of a water-soluble proteinaceous toxin.

Stinging Injuries

Sea Anemones, corals, jellyfish and nudibranchs all can cause injury via a stinging apparatus called the nematocyte. Treatment includes warm water immersion, vinegar application, then application of a drying powder such as lower or talcum powder and scraping removal of the nematocytes with a sharp knife. Sea Urchin and Stingray can also cause painful puncture injuries.

Seafood Poisoning

Eating bad seafood can be an enormous health risk.


Improperly refrigerated fish. Bacteria breakdown histadine to histamine. Symptoms of flushing & itching

IV Hydration.


Fish consumption of a poisonous dinoflagellate food source. Symptoms of nausea, vomiting & diarrhea


Shellfish Poisoning

Shellfish consumption of a poisonous dinoflagellate food source. 4 syndromes:

  1. Paralytic shellfish poisoning
  2. Diarrhea shellfish poisoning
  3. Neurotoxic shellfish poisoning
  4. Amnesic shellfish poisoning

No antidotes.
Airway and cardiovascular support


Gram negative bacillus causing diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting

Support. Antibiotics

Hyperbaric Medicine & Wound Care
at Walnut Creek

216 N. Wiget Lane
Walnut Creek, California 94598

Phone: +1 (925) 357-8834
Fax: +1 (925) 357-8382

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