Fire Coral

Though, not true corals, fire corals resemble the former in appearance. This article will provide you with some information about this marine mass.

Even though fire corals and true corals share the same phylum, the former is not a true coral. Fire corals belong to the family Milleporidae (genus millipora) and is found to be closely related to jellyfish and certain types of stinging sea anemones. There are around six species of fire coral, that are named after their stinging characteristic. It has also been contended that there are numerous species and subspecies of this organism. Fire coral sting is said to cause severe burning sensation for a few days. Let us take a detailed look at certain fire coral facts, especially about their stings.

Fire Coral ~ Information

Fire coral are usually found in both tropical and subtropical waters, attached to underwater rocks or coral reefs. The color of a fire coral may range from greenish yellow to brown with white edges. They can also be found in different forms. Some of them have branches, like fingertips, whereas some others are found as calcareous stone-like structures that are formed through encrusting. You may also find fire corals with plate-like branches as seen in lettuce corals. This marine organism is often found to be mistaken for seaweed and this is one of the reasons, why people get stung by them, while, diving or swimming.

Skin contact with fire coral leads to stings that can cause immense pain and burning sensation. They have numerous small nematocysts (venomous cells) with tentacles and these structures are responsible for fire coral stings. In case of fire corals, the defensive polyps are found to develop around the feeding polyp and it is those defensive polyps that possess nematocysts. Apart from the stings, the calcified rough external surfaces and the sharp edges of fire coral may also cause damage to the skin. The following paragraph will provide you with information about fire coral stings.

Fire Coral Stings

So, fire corals are marine organisms that can inflict painful stings. The affected person may not feel anything for a short time and may develop symptoms within five to thirty minutes. Fire coral sting symptoms include moderate to severe pain, along with a burning sensation. The person may develop fire coral rash, within a short time. This type of rash may or may not be associated with itching. In some cases, swelling of lymph nodes, nausea, vomiting, etc.

Fire coral sting treatment should be started with rinsing of the affected part with sea water, as use of fresh water may increase the pain. Vinegar or isopropyl alcohol must be applied over the area. Make sure to remove the tentacles embedded in the skin. This can be done with tweezers. In case of allergic reaction, like, breathing trouble, swelling of tongue, lips, etc., immediate medical attention must be provided. It is always better to keep the person, as still as possible, as any type of movements may result in spreading of the venom. Treatment for these stings are done with pain killers, antihistamines, etc. But, it is always better to do it as per the advice of your doctor.

Now, you have a basic understanding about fire corals and their stings. It is always better to take preventive measures to avoid such stings. This can be done by wearing a wet suit or a whole body Lycra suit. You must also take care to avoid skin contact with any marine organism or underwater rocks and other things. Even if you get stung, the symptoms will disappear within a few days, if there is no infection. In order to minimize the risk of infection, refrain from scratching the area.

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