How to Protect Yourself from Wildlife Creatures in the Ocean

Dr. Craig Thomas
Dr. Craig Thomas

MAUI (KHNL) -- Many play in Hawaii's waters year-round.

Hawaii's beautiful blue ocean is filled with spectacular and captivating creatures.

For many, getting into the water, is a chance to get up close to this wildlife.

But with millions of creatures also in the ocean, some may be unsure of what to do, when the wildlife "bites back."

But in these calm and inviting waters, are some potentially dangerous creatures. Ones that some may mistakenly overlook.

We're not talking about sharks even though they are out there. Most injuries are from the things that people may not even see.

Like box jellyfish, which sting people in the water every month. Leaving some in pain and confused about what to do.

"Do you put heat on it, do you pee on it, do you have someone else pee on it," said Dr. Craig Thomas.

Heat may help for jellyfish stings, but it definitely helps if you step on a stingray or scorpion fish.

"People who are stung by sea urchins, known as wana, often want the poisonous spines removed," said Thomas.  "Ever try to take those out, can't be done, they have barbs they don't come out the good news is, they dissolve."

You may also mistakenly worry that coral can grow in cuts, but this ER doc says its not true.

"It does sting, if you are cut and coral can cause infections. So you have to watch out for staph and strep," said Thomas.

These beautiful cone snails also can leave a nasty puncture wound if you pick up one.

So if you are not sure what harm these animals could cause, its always best to do nothing.

"Look, don't touch and you'll be fine," Thomas said.