Wilderness: Cone Snail Sting (cont.)
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. 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. Click to view larger image.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
Auerbach, P. Wilderness Medicine. Chapter 81. 6th ed. United States: Mosby, 2011.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/26/2016
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