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Wilderness: Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite (cont.)

Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite First Aid Treatment

  • This bite is considered a medical emergency so do not wait for symptoms to develop; quickly get the person bitten out of the water and, if possible, call 911 and consider transport to the nearest hospital.
  • Use the pressure immobilization technique:
    • Use an elastic bandage (similar to ACE bandage) to wrap the limb starting at the distal end (fingers or toes) and wrap toward the body. It should be tight, but the fingers and toes should remain pink so that the circulation is not cut off.
    • The extremity should also be immobilized with a splint or stick of some sort to prevent it from bending at the joint(s).
    • The elastic bandage should be removed for 90 seconds every 10 minutes and then reapplied for the first 4 to 6 hours. (Hopefully medical care can be received within this time period.)
    • If 30 minutes or more has passed since the blue-octopus bite, the pressure immobilization technique is not likely to be helpful.
    The duration of life-threatening symptoms is usually from 4 to 10 hours. After that time, surviving patients typically show rapid signs of improvement.
  • If the patient is having difficulty breathing, assist with mouth-to-mouth ventilation.
  • Neostigmine (Prostigmin Bromide) and edrophonium (Enlon, Tensilon) have shown benefit in some reports of tetrodotoxin intoxication (for example, pufferfish toxin similar to the blue ring octopus toxin), but have not undergone clinical trials in blue-ringed octopus envenomation's.
  • 4-Aminopyridine is another drug reported to reverse tetrodotoxin effects in experimental animals; however, it has been used in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  • There is no antivenin available for blue-ringed octopus bites.
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Octopus envenomation »

Octopuses, which are organisms of the class Cephalopoda in the phylum Mollusca, are generally harmless and unlikely to be aggressive unless provoked.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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