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General Category => Diving Safety, First Aid & Travel Issues => Topic started by: DIN on 26 Sep 10, 12:32

Title: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: DIN on 26 Sep 10, 12:32
Due to my unexplainable clumsiness or simply dumbness, I got stung by the nasty Crown of Thorns (COT) on my finger a few weeks back. Its not their fault though. I am sharing my experience so that if you ever got stung by these beautiful but nasty creatures, it might be of a little help.

I dropped my pointer while trying to shift the clip, not sure why I do that? I pick it up from the reef and didnt see the COT sticking out from under the corals. I got a tiny poked on my index finger and blood was oozing out from the wound. There was a tiny hole the size of a needle poked. I felt a sharp pain but bearable. I kept squeezing the blood out hoping to milk the venom out, till there is no more blood left.

On board the boat, I was advised to soak my finger in hot water for an hour to neutralise the pain, which I did. I actually thought I had manage to squeeze all the venom or thorn out. Its swollen and according to the boatman, sometimes it may take about 24 hours for the body to react, depending on individual. The next day, I woke up with a swollen and painful finger but no fever or whatsoever. I still continue to dive despite the pain.

On Sunday, upon arriving in Singapore, it was getting more painful that I felt it on my hand. I was planning to see the doctor recommended to me the next day. I went home that night and couldn’t sleep due to the pain so I went to the 24hrs clinic nearby. I got a jabbed and antibiotic cream which actually helps. I was told to go to the A&E if my condition worsen i.e headache or unbearable pain.  I told the doctor I am confident that there were no thorns or venom left in my finger as I had squeezed them out. Big mistake!

I went to the doctor again after a few days and was administer with another cream and painkiller. After 3 weeks, the pain and swelling is still there and my finger is still unusable. I can’t even use it to click a mouse and have to hold the spoon with my index finger sticking out.  I will not describe the grossness of the wound here but anyway, I went diving in Bali last week.

On the first day of diving, finger still painful and unusable, the skin around my finger start to peel on its own and on the second day, when I start to trim off the dead skin, I actually discover a tiny solid stick sticking out at the edge of the sting mark. I manage to pull it out and guess what? I actually pulled out a small thorn about 0.5cm that has been sitting in my finger for bloody 3 weeks! I believe due to the pressure underwater, the thorn was being forced out on its own, since all the dives were deep dives.

Well my finger is getting better now after I came back from Bali and I can see its healing nicely. Again, no need to describe here. So the point is, if you ever get stung by the Crown of Thorns starfish or any other creatures for that matter, do not assumed that you have manage to get rid of the venom or thorns or whatnot. Go seek medical attention immediately and make sure you ask the doctor to make sure that any foreign object is out of your body. I would have save my 3 weeks of misery if I had done so…and my most beloved finger would have been working just fine in Bali…
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: siaokao on 26 Sep 10, 12:48
Well, I'm sorry to know u suffered for 3 weeks! But, NPNT!!! At least show us ur Bali photos!  ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: DIN on 26 Sep 10, 13:01
Thanks. No photos to show off due to the inability to use my index finger. Plus, no Molas and no Mantas. I didnt get to see the Mola again and didnt even go to see the Mantas because I go there for one thing and one thing only, which is the Molas. Now, I am starting to believe that Mola are just a myth. They are like dragons, they dont exists at all.  :'(

Well I can show you the picture of my gross finger if you are interested.  ;D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: siaokao on 26 Sep 10, 14:46
In my dreamy state @ 48m.. I also wonder if I really saw molas..

But lucky got evidence!  ;D
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/5025388426_69ae16262d_b.jpg)
Even the photo looks like its taken in a dream!  :D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: DIN on 26 Sep 10, 15:16
Where is the Mola? I got to tell you man, my faith in Mola is fading away as we speak.... :P
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: T-David on 26 Sep 10, 16:17
Sorry to hear that.....
But you still proceed with the trip it's amazing  :)
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: DIN on 26 Sep 10, 21:58
No biggie, really. Its just a minor injury. Except for my index finger, the rest are working fine... ;D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: grbenji on 26 Sep 10, 22:46
In my dreamy state @ 48m.. I also wonder if I really saw molas..

But lucky got evidence!  ;D
(http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4110/5025388426_69ae16262d_b.jpg)
Even the photo looks like its taken in a dream!  :D

Wow!  Spot the mola contest arh! ;D

BTW, you notice the vignetting?
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: Sparkle on 26 Sep 10, 23:12
Am i also seeing things???
Where's the mola? Can anyone help me here?  ???
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: Sparkle on 26 Sep 10, 23:19
Saw it!!!!  ;D
Finally saw the mola after staring at the picture for awhile!
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: siaokao on 27 Sep 10, 00:23
Haha.. Sorry, not a good photo to post. What DIN said reminded me of this shot.. So dig out post for fun.  :P

Vignetting is quite bad for my fisheye wet lens. Have to zoom in quite abit.. But at that depth and excitement, did not zoom enuf lah. :P

Btw, housing also have condensation issue during that dive.. Thus so blur. That approx 1ton fish is abt 20m away from me,  but on fisheye lens.. Looks pea size!
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: diver-hloc on 27 Sep 10, 09:26
Sorry to hear what happened DIN..... but no worries... as the numbness will go away, given time. I was once badly strung by Hydrios (hope I got the spelling right) at Hantu... numbed a part of my hand for 6mth. But luckily no perment damage.....  ;D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: DIN on 27 Sep 10, 15:52
Thanks diver-hloc There is no numbness now. I heard that it take a while to fully recover from this but its getting better.

I am so prone to stings that I am diving with a full wetsuit now, as much as I dislike it. For some reason, the other part that is exposed got stungs. I am just so prone to stings that I got use to it. Next time should also cover my face... ;D
Title: Re: Stung by the Crown of Thorns Starfish
Post by: KT on 28 Sep 10, 13:29
Wow sorry to hear that but great info to share. Will definitely be extra careful in the future. In the past I was just on the lookout for urchins but now I know about the COTs. I just got back from the COT cleanup at Tioman. Was a great trip except for I got some barotrauma in my sinus from diving with a cold. Nobody got hurt except for a couple of guys who got stung when they decided to test the COT's defenses for themselves. ::)