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Wilderness: Bristleworm Sting (cont.)

Bristleworm Sting Treatment

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.
  • Severe skin irritation or other skin reactions may benefit from a topical corticosteroid cream or ointment such as hydrocortisone. Some individuals may even benefit from oral steroids such as prednisone.
  • 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).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/26/2015
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