A sea cucumber is categorized as an echinoderm with an elongated body that is shaped like a cucumber with tentacles encircling its mouth. As non-aggressive creatures, contact is often by accident.
If exposed to the wastes of the sea cucumber or eating one that is poorly cooked, it might trigger a rash. The irritating toxin is found in the exterior covering and other appendages that can be released into the surrounding water.
What are the indications of sea cucumber irritation?
- Direct exposure to a sea cucumber might instigate a skin rash. This is typically due to the dilution of the toxin with the surrounding sea water.
- If handled out of the water, the rash and accompanying skin reactions might be more evident.
- Significant eye irritation can result to serious inflammation that can lead to blindness in severe cases or if left untreated. This is likely to occur if a diver clears his/her mask in an area where a sea cucumber was recently manipulated.
- Consumption of poorly cooked sea cucumber can result to death in some cases.
How is it managed?
- The affected area must be rinsed using seawater. Do not use fresh water since it will only increase the pain.
- Submerge the affected area in water as hot as the individual can tolerate for around 30-90 minutes. This can be repeated as needed to control the discomfort.
- Do not rub the site or apply ice on it.
- Apply vinegar or isopropyl alcohol on the site of irritation until the pain is lessened.
- If the eyes were exposed to a sea cucumber, it should be flushed with 1-2 gallons of fresh water or saline solution right away.
When to seek medical care
It is vital to seek medical attention so that further assessment can be carried out especially if the eyes were involved. Do not delay the flushing of the affected eye.