hot water is one of natures best cures

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Postby douglasjhoffman » Wed May 26, 2010 5:44 pm

Aloha all,

Twice in my diving career I have been stung by dangerous marine life. The first time was in 1994 in Manado Indonesia when I got nailed by a inimicus or devil fish. This ambush predator has venom in its spines and thats what got me. I was lying in the sand dropping small pieces of coral down a big hole and giant mantas shrimp locally referred to as a "Golak", kept throwing it back. I had played this game with the Golak for a over 2 years and never had a problem. On this day however the Iminicus was buried under the sand and I did not see it. After 15 minutes or so of playing with the mantis shrimp the fish raised its spines and got me in the arm.

The second time was in 2008 in Kauai, when I was diving the famous Luhua Rock and island of Niihau. IT was on the third dive of the day when one of the other divers had a stomach ache and went to the surface. The diver removed his mask, reg, and did not put air in his DCD. As he complained of cramps he was drowning. I was u/w but saw the surface commotion and went up to help. I towed the diver back to the boat and once he was onboard went to continue my dive.

I reached for my regulator and put in my mouth. By the time I got 10 feet deep I knew something was really wrong. I felt pain on my tongue, lips, and roof of my mouth like never before in my life. A moment later I saw long purple legs of a portuguese man of war jelly fish wrapped around my arm, the regulator hose, and I knew it had somehow gotten inside the regulator while I was talking to the distressed diver.


I made it back to the boat and went into shock. I asked the crew to pull me in but to be careful because of the jellyfish wrapped around me. At first they thought i was joking but then they realized I was in serious agony.

In each situation, my body was exposed to countless nematycist stinging cells which were quite painful. In each situation extremely hot water was used to break down the proteins in the stinging cells.

In Manado, I soaked my arm and upper body in extremly hot water. On the boat in Kauai, I kept filling the salad bowl with hot water from the engine compatment and swished the hot water inside my mouth.

While I dont like getting stung, its good to know hot water is one natures best cures.

I did learn from the expereince and now I carry a poke stick in my BCD pocket and check out the sand before lying in it. The other lesson is to purge ones regulator once in the water before stcking it back in the mouth.

Safe Diving to you all.
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Postby cuddlefish » Fri May 28, 2010 10:20 pm

From now on, I will certainly certainly remember to purge my regulator every time! I scraped myself on some fire corals once, and thought that was bad. I did not know hot water would've helped, but a hot soak in the bathtub always does wonders :)
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Postby Willie » Sun May 30, 2010 2:32 am

Interesting Story.
Douglas, where are in Hawaii the best dive sites to go to ?
I have been 5 times to the Hawaii Islands, but that was before I started to dive.
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Postby douglasjhoffman » Mon May 31, 2010 4:06 pm

Each island has something great. Lehua rock off Kauai is the best and possible during Summer. Maui is very good with access to Molokai and Lanai. THe big island is very good too.

I am actually writing a destination guide for Hawaii now. Should be done in a few weeks.
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Postby scottg » Mon May 31, 2010 5:01 pm

very entertaining story! If I ever get stung, I'll use hot water right away

Scott

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Postby smb2 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:38 am

Although formerly considered effective, vinegar is no longer recommended for Portuguese man-of-war stings. In a laboratory experiment, vinegar dousing caused discharge of nematocysts from the larger (P. physalis) man-of-war species. The effect of vinegar on the nematocysts of the smaller species (which has less severe stings) is mixed: vinegar inhibited some, discharged others.

No studies support applying heat to Portuguese man-of-war stings. Studies on the effectiveness of meat tenderizer, baking soda, papain, or commercial sprays (containing aluminum sulfate and detergents) on nematocyst stings have been contradictory. It's possible these substances cause further damage. In one U.S. Portuguese man-of-war fatality, lifeguards sprayed papain solution immediately on the victim's sting. Within minutes, the woman was comatose, and later died.

Alcohol and human urine may be harmful on Portuguese man-of-war stings. An Australian study reports that both alcohol and urine caused massive nematocyst discharge in the box jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri.

Most Hawaii Portuguese man-of-war stings disappear by themselves, sometimes within 15 or 20 minutes. Because of this, even harmful therapies often appear to work. A key concept in the first aid of any injury is: Do no harm. Therefore, avoid applying unproven, possibly harmful substances on stings.


From Craig Thomas MD "ALL STINGS CONSIDERED".

Just my 2 cents. Of course some people can react more violently to any venom.
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Postby smb2 » Sat Jun 05, 2010 7:47 am

Jellyfish

Jellyfish belong to a group known as Cnidaria. Other Cnidaria include

*
Sea anemones
*
Corals
*
Hydroids (such as the Portuguese man-of-war).

Cnidaria have stinging units (nematocysts) on their tentacles. A single tentacle may contain thousands of them. The severity of the sting depends on the type of animal. The sting of most species results in a painful, itchy rash, which may develop into blisters that fill with pus and then rupture. Other symptoms may include weakness, nausea, headache, muscle pain and spasms, runny eyes and nose, excessive sweating, and chest pain that worsens with breathing. Stings from the Portuguese man-of-war (in North America) and the box jellyfish (in Australia in the Indian and South Pacific oceans) have caused death.

Treatment

The first step in treating an injury caused by a jellyfish in the oceans of North America is rinsing with seawater to wash away venom from the skin. Any pieces of tentacles should be removed with tweezers or, after two pairs of gloves are put on, fingers. Vinegar should not be used as a rinse on injuries from the Portuguese man-of-war because it can cause additional venom to be released from nematocysts that have not yet stung (“unfired' nematocysts”). In contrast, vinegar should be used for stopping additional “firings” of nematocysts from the more dangerous box jellyfish. Seawater should be used to rinse box jellyfish stings because fresh water will cause additional venom to be released.
Photographs

Jellyfish
Jellyfish

For all types of stings, hot water or cold packs, whichever feels better to the person, can help relieve pain. At the slightest sign of breathing problems or altered awareness (including unconsciousness), medical help should be sought immediately.


This is from the Merk manual. So hot or cold may make it feel better but do not reduce the nematocyst discharge.
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