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Symptoms and Signs of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite Symptoms and First Aid

Doctor's Notes on Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite

The blue-ringed octopus is found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean area (Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea and Japan). It is less than 8 inches in diameter with its tentacles extended. Its name comes from the fact that it has blue rings and luminous come from picking up and handling the octopus or stepping on it in a sandy beach area. The sting of the blue ringed octopus releases a highly poisonous toxin.

Associated symptoms of a blue-ringed octopus bite (sting) include excessive bleeding, numbness, nausea, vomiting, vision changes, and difficulty swallowing. For the first 5-10 minutes the pain is mild, but then begins to increase. Difficulty breathing and paralysis occur after about 10 minutes. A blue-ringed octopus bite is considered a medical emergency. .

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite Symptoms

The blue-ringed octopus bite is highly poisonous to humans. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a blue-ringed octopus, call 911 or activate the local medical emergency service in the area immediately.

  • Most bites cause minimal pain for the first 5-10 minutes then begin to throb and may get numb and involve the rest of the arm (or extremity) bitten.
  • Bleeding may be excessive
  • Numbness, nausea, vomiting, changes in vision, and difficulty swallowing.
  • After approximately 10 minutes, the victim may have difficulty breathing, become paralyzed, and require artificial ventilation until they can be transported to a hospital. This is often preceded by numbness or loss of feeling around the lips and mouth. If medical care is not provided emergently, respiratory failure may occur, which may lead in cardiac arrest, and death.

Stress-Free Holiday Travel Tips Slideshow

Stress-Free Holiday Travel Tips  Slideshow

Holiday travel can be exciting and fun, but it can also be extremely stressful. Between gifts in the luggage, kids, winter weather, crowded airports, and traffic jams, holiday travel can make even the most seasoned traveler anxious. Following are some tips to help reduce your holiday travel-related stress.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.