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Fish Spine Needle Injury Advice

You can get an infection from a fish spine if a creature spikes you with a fish fin puncture wound. Most aquatic life injuries occur with catfish, needlefish, scorpionfish, stonefish, sea urchins, and stingrays.

This help guide explains what to do if a fish spikes you and how to treat envenomations and puncture wounds from spine-bearing marine animals.

Tips for Avoiding Marine Life Envenomation

What does envenomation mean? Simply put, it's the injection of venom or toxin from one creature into another, through:

More often than not, poisonous aquatic animals use the mechanism for envenomating their prey, such as the weever fish.

But, they also use it as a defencive procedure if they feel threatened or provoked. In humans, fish spike injury can only result from direct contact with the venom, such as fish fins, tail, or the thorn-like tips of the spines.

In fact, fish injury due to being pricked by fish spine (envenomation) is rare. Nonetheless, serious cases can be life threatening, requiring a rapid response by medical first-aiders.

Prevention is Best Cure

Even though diving accidents and incidents happen, it's fair to say that severe fish injuries are rare. In general, if physical contact happens, it occurs most often when divers or swimmers are actually entering or exiting the water from sandy beaches or rocky headlands.

It's also true to say that getting a fish fin puncture wound is usually a chance encounter. Thus, being an alert diver is the best way to avoid most of the common marine life injuries.

Here's the thing:

Scuba divers and snorkelers should always respect the personal space of all marine animals while they are in their natural habitat.

Put another way, passive interaction is the safest way to enjoy time underwater and avoid coral scrapes, puncture wounds, envenomations, stings, and bites.

Fish Spine Injury Symptoms

Important: You get an infection from a fish spine, especially if the thorn pierces the joint between two bones. If fish bone infection treatment is significantly delayed or inadequate, it could lead to tissue necrosis (death of body tissues).

Fish Spine Injury Treatment

The venomous spines of almost all fish species are either in the tips of the dorsal fin or the tail. In other words, if a fish spikes you, it most likely will be because you stepped on it or handled it inappropriately.

Follow these basic steps if you need to treat a fish fin puncture wound, especially if you're unsure how to get a fish spine out of your foot.

Pro Tip: As a dive centre operator, you'll have a duty of care for fish fin puncture wound treatment. Use common sense and be prepared to have them evaluated by a medical professional.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: The short tutorial video [presented by DAN] contains footage about the best first aid treatment for fire coral scrapes and stings.

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