Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Treatment for a bristleworm sting includes the following:
Remove bristles with tweezers or adhesive tape. A facial "peel" may be used over the over the spines or a thick layer of rubber cement. Once the rubber cement has dried, peel it off to remove or to pull the residual spines out of the skin.
Clean the skin carefully so as to not break off any of the spines.
Any of the following may help to relieve the symptoms especially after the spines have been removed: 5% acetic acid (Vinegar), 70% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), dilute ammonia or a paste or solution of meat tenderizer.
If signs of infection are present, such as pus, redness, or localized warmth then the patient should consult a health care professional.
Oral antibiotics are often recommended to prevent secondary bacterial infection. Some antibiotics can cause sensitivity to the sun, so use a sunscreen (at least SPF 15) if a person must have sun exposure during treatment.
Pain may be relieved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) taken according to manufacturers direction(s).