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Wilderness: Fire Coral Cuts (cont.)

Fire Coral Cuts and Stings Treatment

The following guidelines are suggested to treat fire coral cuts:

  • Rinse with seawater. Avoid fresh water because it will increase pain.
  • Apply topical acetic acid (vinegar) or isopropyl alcohol. This treatment can inactivate the venom (toxin).
  • Remove neumatocysts with tweezers or with tape after treating with acetic acid or isopropyl alcohol; this will help remove the toxin that causes the symptoms.
  • Immobilize the extremity because movement may cause the venom (toxin) to spread.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream two to three times daily as needed for itching. Discontinue immediately if any signs of infection appear.

If the person who has come into contact with fire coral develops shortness of breath; swelling of the tongue, face, or throat; or other signs of an allergic reaction, the patient should be treated for an allergic reaction. If no signs of allergic reaction are present, pain may be relieved with one to two tablets of acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4 hours (not to exceed 3 grams in a 24 hour time period) and/or one to two tablets of ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) every 6-8 hours. Some health care professionals prefer naproxen (Aleve) for pain treatment.

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