Some marine creatures are capable of injecting venom causing paralysis and respiratory failure within 30 minutes. Most venom reaches the blood stream via the lymphatic system. Research by the ARC indicates little venom reaches the circulation, even
after several hours, if a Pressure Immobilization Technique is applied IMMEDIATELY and MAINTAINED.
Blue-ringed octopuses are present in all Australian coastal waters, often found in tidal pools and can inflict a potentially fatal bite when handled.
Cone shells are found in tropical waters, and deliver venom through a dart like barb.
Painless bite, spot of blood at the site
Numbness to lips and tongue
Progressive weakness of respiratory muscles, hypoventilation and respiratory arrest
Headache, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain
Swollen or tender lymphatic glands at groin/axilla of bitten limb
Symptoms can resemble dysfunction of the CNS:
Difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing
The amount of toxin administered at the time of envenomation AND the weight of the patient dictates the speed with which life-threatening signs and symptoms may develop.
It is advised that such patients be transported to a medical facility for assessment and observation.
Venom from both Cone Shell and Blue-ringed Octopus can cause paralysis and respiratory failure within 30 minutes, without direct effects on the heart, the treatment for which is basic life support to assist respiration.
Paralysis may be long lasting and where possible treatment for respiratory or cardiac arrest should continue until arrival at an appropriate medical facility.
It is uncommon for a patient with an effectively applied PIT to be time critical in the absence of signs and symptoms of envenomation