Remember when I talked about our
misadventure going to the Buruanga beach? When I wrote I got sea urchin spines on my foot?
Well, this is the little constellation I was talking about 😀
(warning: ugly photo)
My brothers were disgusted when they saw the picture. I don’t blame them though, it kinda is disgusting. However I’m not going to say I’m regretful about this.
On the contrary, I find a bit of pride in this experience. 😉
Sea urchin spines baby! At that time, I was imagining my body as a canvas for travel adventure scars lol 😀
Anyway, by the time I got home (which was the day after this fateful encounter with the urchin), the spines were gone. Not all of them though. In total, I got 18 punctures. I got 10 on the dorsal area (the ones you see on the picture) and I got 8 more beneath my toes.
I had no idea about sea urchin spines when I got this. My mind went straight to the idea of tetanus so while I was walking beneath the water I kept on feeling my foot for numbness. There was no numbness, thankfully. Once I reached the dry land, the residents there told me that there’s nothing to be worried about, that it’s not dangerous. My companions (my crazy cousins) however, were the best people ever and they only kept on joking around, which made me not think seriously about this matter.
Kuya, our boatman, said they get that all the time and it will just disappear before I know it. And so I placed all my trust into his words. But of course, first aid should be done. What did I do?
How to Get Rid of Sea Urchin Spines
First, you need to know that getting them is not a totally medical emergency, so you don’t have to panic. Also, you need to know that taking care of these punctures/splinters is not the same with those cases caused by wood.
1. Pour vinegar or soak feet with it.
By the time we arrived at the beach house (the beach was so beautiful by the way), we went directly to the caretaker and asked for some vinegar. She kindly brought us her bottle of vinegar and then we poured some on our punctured feet. There were four of us victimized by the sea urchins by the way. They said soaking in vinegar would be better but I didn’t do that. After I poured vinegar, I was already on my way to the pristine beach 🙂
2. You can try to take out spines but do yourself a favor and don’t hurt your feet by performing your own surgery.
If the spines are protruding and you think you can take them out manually, you may do so. But the spines under the skin should be left there. There’s no use in using a tiny needle to try to get the spines out. You’ll only hurt yourself. I tried it though, to no avail.
Sea urchin spines are made of minerals, calcium carbonate in particular. And they are very brittle that’s why it will be hard to manually take them out.
3. Clean with antiseptic.
I had with me my first aid kit so I had betadine and cotton balls to clean the wounds. Since there were open wounds that can lead to infection, it’s a very important thing that you clean them with antiseptic.
4. Wait for the spines to disappear.
Like what I had already written, most of the spines were gone after a day. Those little black spots turned into mere dark, painless flat discolorations on the foot and then they slowly disappeared. Since the spines are made of minerals, they can be dissolved and then absorbed by the body.
My other companions’ punctures (each had only one!) disappeared on the day itself, after a few hours. Mine did after a day. However, those beneath my toes are still in there, even until now. But they are painless and they aren’t giving me any trouble.
I did my research, I read other articles, and I found out that it can take months before the sea urchin spines would completely say farewell.
Since there is tissue damage, there will be local inflammation to the area affected in reaction to the punctures. There will be pain, redness, and swelling, but they are often not severe.
Did it hurt?
Yes it did! But the pain wasn’t excruciating or intolerable. The pain rating would be 3/10 for me. Heck I even trekked the forest after being punctured. It was no trouble for me ;p
A bit of advise though, getting sea urchin punctures can still need serious medical attention. When the spine punctured the area of a joint, it may cause severe pain, irreversible tissue damage, and arthritis.