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Old 03/28/2007, 06:07 PM   #1
steveoutlaw
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I learned about Zoanthid toxin the hard way......

.....I inhaled it and it has really taken it's toll.

I'm telling this story because I don't want anybody to have to go through what I did.....and still am. Trust me, it's horrible.

First some background. I have a 210g mixed reef and I had a few rocks that were becoming infested with a plain looking green zoanthid that had stripes on the polyp. I had read somewhere on-line (I'm not sure where) that boiling water would get rid of them. Well, I know how to boil water so I figure it would be a piece of cake. Now here is where the story starts getting interesting.

I boiled some water and got a 5 gallon bucket. I pulled out 1 rock and held it over the bucket. I poured the boiling water over the polyps and the steam came up and I breathed it in. The first thing I thought was "damn that smells nasty". I took the rock and put it in my hospital tank and decided not to do any more because the wife wouldn't like the smell. So I decided to go outside and work on the kids playhouse.

Well, about 20 minutes after I inhaled the steam my nose started running really bad and I started coughing. "Well, it's going to be a hell of an allergy season" I thought to myself. After all I was working outside. So I decided to suck it up and take some benedryl. Well about 4 hours later I started to realize it wasn't just allergies. I started having a hard time breathing and noticed that I wasn't feeling just right. It was then that I remembered a story about someone who had a dog that had eaten zoos and died from it. So I went on to the internet and couldn't believe what I found.

Apparently zoanthids contain one of the deadliest naturally occurring toxins called palytoxin. In all of my research I found stories of warriors of old smearing their arrow heads and spear heads in zoos because such a small amount of the palytoxin can be fatal to humans. But everything I saw had to do with the toxin getting into the bloodstream. Then I started thinking and changed my search to "ingested palytoxin".

Well, it turns out that the zoanthids release the palytoxin when they are distressed. It also turns out that the palytoxin can be aerosolized......which when mixed with steam and breathed in........not such a good thing. I then came across this article by Julian Sprung that gives a little detail on someone else who had inhaled the toxin:

http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issu...003/invert.htm

Well after reading that (and my wife reading it over my shoulder) it was off to the ER we went. Well on the way I started having more trouble breathing and was going into these coughing fits that would make a grown man cry.......and did. I started getting chest pains (by the way......if you want to get admitted to the ER quickly just tell them you have chest pains).

So after the EKG and we found out my heart was normal we waited 2 hours for a room. Once in the room they put my on a nebulizer, gave me a shot of steroids (prednisone) and a little morphine for the pain. They did a blood workup (which came back normal) and took chest X-rays (which came back normal) and even tested me for the flu.

After 15 hours in the ER they basically told me that they didn't know what to do. The research they did didn't turn up much more than I had printed off for them and palytoxin doesn't have a antedote. So they gave me a two week steroid treatment, some albuterol (inhaler), and a cough suppresant with codiene in it and sent me home.

Now, fast forward 2-1/2 weeks. I just got in to see a Pulmonary specialist and did not like the news. Apparently the toxin has given me a case of bad asthma. Breathing in the palytoxin has inflammed my bronchial tubes. Here is what really sucks.......they have no idea how long this is going to last. They just put me on one months worth of inhalable steroids (isn't inhaling what got me in trouble in the first place??) and told me to see how it goes for the next month. They can't tell me when or if it's going to go away or if their are going to be any long term effects. Meanwhile, every time I take a breath I have to try not to cough, I get migraine like headaches from all of the coughing and I have pulled every muscle in my chest and abdomen from coughing.

You hear stories and you think, "wow, that's aweful.......but that won't happen to me". Well let me tell you.......I thought the same thing and now I'm in more pain than I care to imagine. BOTTOM LINE - BE CAREFUL WHEN YOU HANDLE ZOOS.......THEY ARE VERY DANGEROUS AND IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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Wow man... I'm sorry this happened to you! Hopefully as your bronchial tubes heal, you shouldn't have asthma anymore.

Not sure what else to say but I wish the best of luck to you.


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:15 PM   #3
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..... *hug*

I'm not really able to do much more than that.

Truth be told, I do fire dancing, and find that to be much safer than working around my tank because everyone involved always knows ALL of the risks. From anyone spinning to all the safety techs taking part, we all know the score. But there's still so much that's up in the air when it comes to corals and invertebrates, especially in the case of zoanthids and their toxin.

Here's hoping things work out for you.

*hug again*


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:17 PM   #4
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Man that's horrible!!!!!!!Thanks for the story and the heads up.I hope there are no long term problems.

GET WELL SOON


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:19 PM   #5
kathainbowen
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Oh, and by the by, if you feel an attack coming on and your friends/families want you to go to the ER, don't be stubborn and just go. My roomie had bad asthma and would always refuse to go to the ER until things got really, really scary.

My thoughts and pagan prayers are with you.


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:33 PM   #6
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Sorry to hear about all the crap you've been through.

Hope you get over this quickly.

Thanks for the head-up.


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:36 PM   #7
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Hey man, I can feel your pain.

I somehow developed asthma when i was 28 years old. I had to learn how to deal with it, which took about 18 months. After you learn to deal withit and what sets your asthma off it's fairly easy to live with. I can keep mine under control for the most part.

Is the inhaled steroid they gave you called advair, comes in a disk or did they give you another inhaler other than the albuteral?

Glad you made it through all of this, could have been much worse.


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:39 PM   #8
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Wow, keep us posted man. I am truly sorry to hear what happened. I've always known them to be toxic but to cause asthma. So sorry man, keep the faith. MIKE


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:46 PM   #9
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sorry to hear that . . . Hope you get better


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Old 03/28/2007, 06:49 PM   #10
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WoW. I have athsma already ... I wonder what would happen to me. I don't care to think about it.

It's so easy to take things for granted, I'll have to be careful. Thanks for sharing and I hope you get better.


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Old 03/28/2007, 07:31 PM   #11
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Thanks for sharing your story. You're right, people think they're invincible. Maybe your story will help them understand that regular people get hurt too.

I hope you pull through without any long-tern effects.


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Old 03/28/2007, 07:47 PM   #12
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my god im in shock from reading this im sorry this happened to you


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Old 03/28/2007, 07:48 PM   #13
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Wow man! Sorry to hear about this mess. I would have never thought of that angle. I'm glad I haven't tried this.

I was trying to frag a GSP not too long ago that had some zoos on it. I was almost 2 ft away from the thing and one of the zoos still managed to squirt me right in the eye. I don't now if it was mainly saltwater or what, but I rinsed it out well and nothing ever happened to my eye.

I've read most zoos in the hobby are not deadly toxic. I've also read that the dull uglier kind (maybe like you were trying to get rid of) tend to be the more toxic ones. Anybody's guess. I still treat them all as if they were toxic. I don't think you want to ingest anything off of them in any way if at all possible.

Hope you get better. Thanks for sharing this story.


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Old 03/28/2007, 07:56 PM   #14
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hey I am sorry to hear about what happened to you.

I would be interested in getting your input if you did not alreadly give it on a thread I created a while back regarding Zoo's. Most ppl don't seem too concerned over the risk IMO.

http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/sh...readid=1065116


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Old 03/28/2007, 08:17 PM   #15
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sorry about what happened to you and thanks for the heads up because im a zoo lover myself so thank you and get well soon


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Old 03/28/2007, 08:44 PM   #16
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Glad it wasnt worse than it was! I will think twice before doing some of the things I have with zoas and palys.. Fragging with no gloves.. In some cases with cuts on my hands from working on cars or in the yard.....


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Old 03/28/2007, 08:57 PM   #17
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fwiw it wasnt pally toxin.
1 paly toxin is rare.
and 2
paly toxin dosnt cause this


i think we need to find out what OTHER toxin is causeing these thigns that people keep blaming on paly toxin so maybe if we get these other things we can fight them better.
and also paly toxin does have a cure. its an injection directly into the heart of somthing that starts with a d. but it has only been lab tested.

i think about 50 percent of the cases of "paly toxin" are all in peoples heads. and the otehr 50 percent usualy falsly blaming the palytoxin

plus i doubt steam could transport paly toxin.. id be intrested ot find out what you really had happen to you as it is a pretty darn scary story


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Old 03/28/2007, 10:12 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by A.T.T.R
fwiw it wasnt pally toxin.
1 paly toxin is rare.
and 2
paly toxin dosnt cause this

plus i doubt steam could transport paly toxin.. id be intrested ot find out what you really had happen to you as it is a pretty darn scary story
If you have some studies or documentation that would support these assertions, I would love to read them. I wasn't able to find much about palytoxin when Steve first posted about this on the WAMAS forums.

Thanks.

BB


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Old 03/28/2007, 11:33 PM   #19
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Wow! Sorry To hear that happened to you. Hopefully the damage isnt permanent and you will make a full recovery. Nevermind the dissenting voices as to what caused this. Many people are unwilling to accept anything that isnt presented to them from a trusted source. The reality is another incident that has being attributed to the dangers of palyotoxins. This isnt an isolated event. This could have easily been avoided. Information regarding this and other serious health risks should be made common knowlege. And this should be balanced with a mature attitude. Other toxic animals are available publicly and are commonly understood. Lionfish, Foxface Lo's etc. If this means some parents might object to their children keeping these animals as pets, that is their decision to make. I am an adult and am willing to keep these animals, but what if this happened to somebodys kid? Any place or venue offering itself as a viable source of reliable information regarding zoanthids should include a mention of its potential toxicity. Not that all are toxic, but that there is a real chance that any could be dangerous and should be treated carefully. Anything less should be seen as negligent or incompetent.

And get well soon.


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Old 03/28/2007, 11:40 PM   #20
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Sorry to hear that, and thanks for the info.


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Old 03/29/2007, 12:14 AM   #21
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Wow man, what an unbelievable story. I also love zoos and appreciate the warning you've given. I sincerely hope you get better soon and I will be much more careful when handling them...


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Old 03/29/2007, 12:37 AM   #22
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Hang in there! Hope you get to feeling better soon. I hope a few people learn a little something from this, thanks for posting it.

After reading the thread about the guy whos dog died a few years ago, I treat zoos the same as medical waste...


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Old 03/29/2007, 04:33 AM   #23
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Holy Cow!! thanks for sharing, Best of luck to you for a speedy recovery!!


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Old 03/29/2007, 05:08 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by A.T.T.R
fwiw it wasnt pally toxin.
1 paly toxin is rare.
and 2
paly toxin dosnt cause this


i think we need to find out what OTHER toxin is causeing these thigns that people keep blaming on paly toxin so maybe if we get these other things we can fight them better.
and also paly toxin does have a cure. its an injection directly into the heart of somthing that starts with a d. but it has only been lab tested.

i think about 50 percent of the cases of "paly toxin" are all in peoples heads. and the otehr 50 percent usualy falsly blaming the palytoxin

plus i doubt steam could transport paly toxin.. id be intrested ot find out what you really had happen to you as it is a pretty darn scary story

#1 - How can you say with certainty that it was not palytoxin?
#2 - If you are going to make this assertion you need to back it up.
#3 - It's really easy for you to suggest that it's all in my head....it didn't happen to you.

The fact remains that I inhaled the steam from boiling the zoanthids and it closed up my lungs. The doctors all agreed that an aerosol toxin breathed in would cause irritation and inflammation of my bronchial tubes. Can I say for certain that it was the palytoxin.......no. But until someone gives my a different explanation they can back up, I'm going to listen to the doctors.


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Old 03/29/2007, 05:09 AM   #25
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I'm shocked that this could happen. I would have never guessed it was toxic enough to do that to a person. I'm glad you shared this story with all of us.

I hope you recover fully from this incident.


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