Seaweed irritations usually occur after having direct contact with the poisonousLyngbyamajusculaspecie, which produces two toxins, lyngbyatoxin A and debromoaplysiatoxin. This specie gets under the bathing suit causing the irritation. It appears similar to dark mutted clumps of hair. But seaweed such as algae and coelenterates, which cannot be seen by the naked eye,may also result to skin irritation.Thus, majority of cases of seaweed irritation are accidental. But some may also be large. There are thousands of species of algae which are found all over the world, both in freshwater and saltwater.
Although it may cause skin dermatitis, seaweed has also many known benefits. It contains vitamins, minerals and fiber and is often used in Japanese sushi, also called nori in Japanese delicacies. Additionally, it alsohas medicinal propertiessuch as, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents that have long been used for treating rashes and burns. Moreover, they have proven commercial use. Even if some species are toxic, seaweed proves to be useful in many different aspects.
Symptoms of Seaweed Irritation
Symptoms of seaweed irritation will vary for individuals, sometimes depending on the time of exposure. The common symptoms of seaweed irritation to humans include:
- In some cases, blisters and swelling
First Aid Treatment for Seaweed Irritation
Seaweed irritation can easily be treated at home. There is usually no need for medical attention in treating seaweed irritations. To administer first aid:
- Scrub the irritated area with water and soap. Flood with extensive amounts of fresh water. Wash with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.
- To ease the itchiness, hydrocortisone cream may be applied topically two to three times a day. Cease is signs of infection begin to show.
- If allergic reactions occur, adults should be treated with diphenhydramine 50mg every six hours and ranitidine 150mg every twelve hours. Do not give the same treatment for children. Consult with a pediatrician or dermatologist before giving and medications.
- If there are signs of infection, take antibiotics.
When to Seek Medical Attention with Regard to Seaweed
Since seaweed irritations can be treated without medical help, people often neglect when there might be a need for medical attention. If any of the following symptoms show, consult a physician:
- Signs of infection
- Red streaking of the skin from the wound
- Pus discharge, which may be foul-smelling and can range in colors
- Skin surrounding the wound is red, warm and swollen
- If there are signs of anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction, call emergency medical services.
Seaweed is present worldwide, thus first aid should be known for cases of seaweed irritation. Disclaimer: Giving first aid immediately can help significantly in preventingdamages. The given information should not be used as medical advice or substitute for first aid training. To learn how to manage irritations to the body, such as seaweed irritations, enroll in First Aid Courses.