Exposure to a sea cucumber can trigger irritation. Contact with its excrement or consuming one that is poorly cooked can instigate rashes. It is important to note that the toxin responsible is present on the external covering and other appendages and can be released into the surrounding water.
What are the indications of sea cucumber irritation?
- Skin rashes which is generally minor since the toxin has been diluted by the surrounding sea water. If one is handled in the shore, the ensuing rash and reaction is more noticeable.
- Eye irritation that can lead to significant inflammation that can lead to blindness in serious or untreated cases. This is a possible risk among divers who opens their masks in an area where a sea cucumber was recently manipulated.
Consumption of a poorly cooked sea cucumber is known to be fatal.
Management of sea cucumber irritation
- The affected site must be rinsed with seawater. Do not use fresh water since it will only intensify the pain.
- Submerge the affected area in hot water that the individual can tolerate around 30-90 minutes. This can be repeated if needed to lessen the pain.
- Instruct the individual to avoid rubbing the site and do not apply an ice pack.
- Apply isopropyl alcohol or acetic acid on the site until the pain from the irritation is lessened.
- If eye exposure occurs, it must be rinsed using fresh water or saline solution right away.
Remember that there is no available antidote for the toxin.