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Wilderness: Cone Snail Sting (cont.)

IN THIS ARTICLE

Cone Snail Sting Prevention

  • Avoid picking up cone shells; if a person does pick up a shell, they should be wearing proper gloves and carefully grasp the large end of the shell.
  • If any part of the snail begins to stick out from the shell, the cone should be dropped immediately
  • If you must carry the shell, carry it by the large end of the shell
  • Never carry the shell inside a wet suit, clothing pocket, or dive suite buoyancy compensator.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Cone Snail Sting

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
  • Intensive care hospitalization, including use of a respirator, may be required.

Cone Snail Pictures

Cone snail shells.
Cone snail shells. Click to view larger image.

Molecular model of cone snail toxin that blocks 
skeletal muscle sodium-channels, causing paralysis. Other toxins can block calcium channels and nicotinic acetylcholine channels in cardiac and nerve tissues.
Molecular model of cone snail toxin that blocks skeletal muscle sodium-channels, causing paralysis. Other toxins can block calcium channels and nicotinic acetylcholine channels in cardiac and nerve tissues. Click to view larger image.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care

REFERENCE:

Auerbach, P. Wilderness Medicine. Chapter 81. 6th ed. United States: Mosby, 2011.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
Medical Author:

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