Doctor's Notes on Marine Animal Bite
The signs and symptoms of marine animal bites depend on the fish or animal that bites. Consequently, anyone bitten should try to identify the type of fish or animal, time of injury, and circumstances of the attack. Signs and symptoms of bites are cuts, abrasions, lacerations, and puncture wounds. Some bites include significant tissue loss (shark bite) and may be life-threatening. Within 24 hours, some bites become infected and may show
- pus production,
- red streaks,
- lymph node swelling,
- fever, and
- pain with joint movements.
Most bites should be seen by a medical caregiver.
The cause of a fish or marine animal's bite may be a defense response if threatened or agitated, self-preservation (hooked or speared), and mistaking a human for its normal prey.
What Is the Treatment for Marine Animal Bites?
The treatments for marine animal bites usually depends on identifying the type of fish or animal that bit the person. The types of bites vary and so do the treatments. However, almost all bites need to be seen by a medical caregiver, and patients may need a tetanus shot. Some mild abrasions may only need a topical antibiotic and a bandage while serious bites may need an oral antibiotic. Severe bites showing infection symptoms and signs may require IV antibiotics and evaluation by a surgeon. Large sharks and killer whales, for example, can cause deep organ damage, tissue loss, and death. Have someone call 911 and if safely possible, remove the patient from the water quickly. Stop significant bleeding with direct pressure. A trauma surgeon should be consulted immediately.
Trauma and First Aid : Training and Supplies QuizQuestion
Emotional trauma is best described as a psychological response to a deeply distressing or life-threatening experience.See Answer
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Blue-Ringed Octopus BiteThe blue-ringed octopus bite is a medical emergency. Blue-ringed octopus are not aggressive marine animals; however, when it bites it has a deadly venom. If you are bitten by a blue-ringed octopus it is a medical emergency. Symptoms include pain, bleeding, numbness, nausea, vomiting, changes in vision, and difficulty breathing. If medical care is not provided, the patient will likely go into respiratory failure, which leads to cardiac arrest and death.
Sea Snake BiteSea snakes are generally not aggressive unless provoked or cornered. Sea snakes are highly venomous. Symptoms from a sea snake bite will occur within three hours of the bite and include: painful muscles, inability to move the legs, joint aches, blurred vision, thick tongue, excessive saliva production, vomiting, and droopy eyelids. There is an antivenom available for sea snake bites.
Shark AttackShark attacks can be categorized into three types, hit and run, bump and bite, and a sneak attack. You can potentially avoid a shark attack or shark bite by taking precautions such as not wearing shiny jewelry, not splashing in the water, not entering the water if you have an open cut that is bleeding, and paying close attention to your surroundings. Shark bite treatment depends upon the severity of the wound.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.