Dive Medicine: Sea Urchin Puncture Wound - Experience

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See what others are saying

Published: February 06

I was snorkeling in Thailand when I stepped on a sea urchin. The guide had a 3" corroded snap shackle which he used to fairly forcefully tap on the area (4 spines). He alternated this with soaking the site in vinegar for about 15 min. The dark black spots faded over the next few hours, after which I have been able to walk. I gave him a generous amount of the folding stuff for saving my vacation!.

Published: April 18

I was accidentally carried by a wave over coral reef in the Northwestern part of Puerto Rico. Along with several serious scrapes and bruises, I walked out with about 40 sea urchin spines embedded deeply in both feet. We used vinegar and a hot salt water soak, but were unsuccessful in removing the spines because they were too deep under the skin. After dealing with the pain for two days, I went to the emergency room. Most of the spines were surgically removed using a local anesthetic. I was placed on an I.V. and prescribed a heavy dose of antibiotics and pain medication. A week later I returned home and had a second surgery. I was put under and another 16 very deeply embedded spines were removed. It's been two weeks and I am still getting headaches and occasional excessive sweating possibly from the medication. My follow up appt. for the second surgery is tomorrow. What an experience. I hope to never have another encounter with sea urchins..