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First Aid for Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite

Last updated March 5, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

David Breneman

The blue-ringed octopus is marine creature that normally inhabits shallow ocean floors. The bite of the blue-ringed octopus can inject a highly potent venom into the body.


What is Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

The blue-ringed octopus is a marine creature that normally inhabits shallow ocean floors. The bite of the blue-ringed octopus can inject a highly potent venom into the body.

What are the Causes of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

Most common causes of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bites include (but are not limited to):

  • Swimmers, surfers, divers, and beachgoers
  • Coral reef divers
  • Wading in ocean waters without suitable protective clothing
  • Picking up the octopus with bare hands
  • Walking barefoot on the beach or in shallow sea water
  • Keeping them as pets in aquaria

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

The signs and symptoms of a Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite may include:

  • The presence of a tiny puncture mark on the skin (at the bite site)
  • Dizziness, intoxication
  • Numbing of facial muscles and tongue
  • Severe fatigue and weak muscles
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness

How is First Aid administered for Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

If a Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite (or sting or bite of a marine creature) is suspected, it is always important to call your local emergency helpline number (or 911 in the US) without any delay, and provide as much information as possible, even if the individual does not have any symptoms.

Until medical help arrives:

  • Move the individual away from the water or incident spot
  • Make a note of the exact time of the incident and notify the emergency medical personnel accordingly
  • Use pressure bandage to immobilize the affected site
  • Try to identify or locate the marine animal (only if safely possible) and keep the medical personnel informed
  • DO NOT give anything orally to the individual
  • Unless directed by the physician, DO NOT give any medication

Who should administer First Aid for Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

The individual himself/herself or someone nearby may begin to administer First Aid. Call your local emergency helpline number or 911 immediately as mentioned before.

What is the Prognosis of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite?

The prognosis of Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite is dependent on the amount of toxin injected, the severity of reaction, and timely manner in which treatment is administered.

How can Blue-Ringed Octopus Bite be Prevented?

A few helpful tips to prevent Blue-Ringed Octopus Bites include:

  • Avoid making an attempt to touch or handle marine animals unnecessarily
  • Do not ignore warnings of lifeguards or health officials at the beach
  • Wear protective clothing if you plan to swim or dive in infested areas
  • Generally be aware or watchful of the waters you are in (to the extent possible)
  • Wear protective footwear while walking on beach sand
  • Do not handle dead octopuses
  • Ensure safety precautions while cleaning marine animal aquariums

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

Do’s:

  • Call your local emergency helpline number (or 911) for help
  • Remove the victim immediately from the water
  • When in doubt, wash the affected area with seawater and not freshwater
  • Immobilize the affected site (arm or leg)

Don’ts:

  • Do not hesitate to call your emergency help services
  • Do not medicate the individual, unless advised by a healthcare professional
  • Do not move the affected region of the body too much
  • Do not run or exercise which might increase the circulation of toxin in the body
  • Do not elevate the affected area above the heart level, since this can also increase circulation of the toxin

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Dec. 27, 2015
Last updated: March 5, 2018