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Old 01/12/2012, 10:49 AM   #1
tkeracer619
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Palys. Yes they can kill you. My trip to the ER

So last night I got off my butt and decided it was long overdue to remove the palys off the overflow that were now encroaching on my large hawkins.

I pulled the overflow teeth off (they are removable) to give them a quick cleaning. Being careless I tossed it under hot water in the sink and tried to scrub off the palys. I knew immediately that I had screwed up as I was inhaling the steam. It tasted like I was chewing on aluminum foil. Very metallic bitter taste. I finished up doing what I was doing and laid down for a bit.

I woke up with profuse vomiting, sweaty shakes, diarrhea, and could not breath easily. I called 911 and they came to pick me up.

I had always known about palytoxin. I don't know why I was so careless but it almost cost me my life. 1 gram of palytoxin can kill 80 people or a million mice. The longest time till death on record happened 16 hours after exposure due to heart failure.

The most common exposure is the same thing that happened to me. Steam vaporizing the toxin. One breath is all it takes.

I urge anyone who stumbles upon this post and thinks they might have been exposed to go to the hospital immediately. It is not a game.

After being poked and prodded all night I am going to try and rest up a bit. Figured I would share my story with you all.

P.S. anyone want palys? Free but you have to remove them


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Old 01/12/2012, 10:59 AM   #2
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Out of curiosity, when you told the doctors what you thought it was (assuming you could), did they know how to handle it?


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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They were on the phone with poison control off and on throughout the night. It is definitely something you would need to suggest to them as it is very rare that this happens. I was able to tell them what I thought I had done and they were on top of it after that.


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:04 AM   #4
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wow, glad to hear you're ok. Of all the first hand accounts I've heard of palytoxin exposure, most involve inhaling steam from running them under hot water to kill them.

Another reminder to always wash your hands with antibacterial soap after working in the tank and wear gloves whenever you're working with Palys and Zoanthids.


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:10 AM   #5
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Brother I am so sorry to hear that. I once had a mild dose from doing almost the same, I was only in the steam for a few seconds and the results were not dramatic, but I did almost pass out, and a nap and lots of water seemed to help. It is amazing how even though we know of the danger, we sometimes forget about it briefly.

I hope the recovery is a speedy one and you are back to yourself in no time. :-)


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:11 AM   #6
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What are palys? What do they look like? Are they common in marine tanks?


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:21 AM   #7
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Wow, glad you are ok, thanks for sharing.


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:22 AM   #8
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Talk about a Close one there friend!Glad your Life was spared!


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
What are palys? What do they look like? Are they common in marine tanks?
Palys and Zoa polyps are a type of mat coral that are pretty common.

http://www.zoanthids.com/

Note: Not suggesting to buy from that site or not to buy from that site, i have never bought from there, they just have lots of pictures of cool palys and zoas.

They are from the same order Zoantharia. Palytoxin is I believe found in many families under that order but more so under Sphenopidae (Which contains the genus Palythoa which is where the term "Paly" comes from).

Palys are typically larger and less uniform. They stand up higher. Zoas are typically more uniform and are squatter, but that isn't always true :-D


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:24 AM   #10
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The double post gremlin strikes again.


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Last edited by SneakyPete; 01/12/2012 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 01/12/2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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i just swept 2 big colony of green palys. luckily i 'm alright, no sign of allergy or whatever.


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:53 AM   #12
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TKE...if I may? This is not directed at you and I know you understand this but perhaps it is not very well known and could be a perfect time to bring this back to the attention of all.

I am medicated currently and my thoughts do not flow well, bear with me and correct anything that needs correcting. (I hate pain pills)

The toxins can be found in the slime that the Paly's use to protect themselves from drying or as defense and these toxins can be atomized and steam is a very easy way to get in trouble with them, as is draining a tank and leaving the rock covered in Zoa or Paly's, the toxins can be released and if you stick your head in the empty tank you can inhale them. Open wounds are also an easy way to get the toxins into the bloodstream. None of this is to say that these creatures are killers out to get you, but they do have a good defense weapon. Safe handling is always called for any time you are working on the tank.

If you are fragging Zoa's or Paly's you should always wear gloves and use eye protection. A very good friend of mine was fragging Zoa's and some juice squirted up and got him in the eye, 12 hours later he was convulsing and vomiting and was taken to the ER. He was ok once the Dr's learned that he was exposed to palytoxins and treated him accordingly but most inland hospitals do not expect to find palytoxins so they may not be ready to help, if anyone with a reef tank winds up in the hospital, be sure that you alert them to the possible exposure to palytoxins. Some people are also more sensitive to them than others, wear protection when working on the tank.


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Old 01/12/2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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Glad to hear your ok. What did they do to treat the said exposure?


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Old 01/12/2012, 12:19 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone I appreciate the kind words. I am feeling a little better. Pretty much just feel tired atm. I will bounce back and am already looking for new rock to gut my system and start over. No more zoanthids and palythoa for me. I have been wanting to do this for a while and well this give me the green light...

sirreal you are exactly right. The point should be brought up more then it is.

Ludinano, I honestly am not exactly sure. I know it involved steroids, a few other drugs, and an hour long nebulizer to open up my lungs. A lot of IV bags, pain killers, nausia meds, oxygen, and who knows what else. I don't think there is anything specific to palytoxins (I don't think such things exist) and everything I have read is that they treat the symptoms in humans while keeping a close eye on your heart. I overheard the doctor talking to poison control and best I can gather is it blocks your bodies ability to move things around that it needs to move around.

Not all palys have palytoxins but all palys can have palytoxins.


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Old 01/12/2012, 12:27 PM   #15
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wow good info here. Glad that you made it alright!


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Old 01/12/2012, 12:28 PM   #16
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I know this sounds kinda dumb because I TRY to remember to be careful with these critters but I have had my wife use her cell phone to take a few pictures of my various palys and zoos tagging them with the word palythoa, given her a list of symptoms and told her if she sees it and I cant talk to call 911 and give the techs the pics...


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Old 01/12/2012, 01:04 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Raggamuffin View Post
I know this sounds kinda dumb because I TRY to remember to be careful with these critters but I have had my wife use her cell phone to take a few pictures of my various palys and zoos tagging them with the word palythoa, given her a list of symptoms and told her if she sees it and I cant talk to call 911 and give the techs the pics...
Thats a real good idea, but, for me, my only bet is to teach the dog how to use the phone. Then maybe I can graduate to teaching her how to get to the pictures. Wish me luck, she doesnt look very interested in learning!


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Old 01/12/2012, 01:41 PM   #18
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Hey I am sorry to hear what happened. I am glad that you got to a hospital quickly with the onset of your symptoms and that you are doing well. What hospital did you go to if I might ask? I live in Denver and work at St Anthony. Glad to here wherever you went that you did get good quality treatment.


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Old 01/12/2012, 02:19 PM   #19
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Wow, that is scary as anything. Glad you are getting better from that. I have never heard of steam being the means of ingesting the stuff, so point taken on that one.

How long between when you inhaled the steam and when you woke up extremely sick?


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Old 01/12/2012, 02:57 PM   #20
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yikes. That makes me want to get all those ugly palys out of my tank. Not worth risking it as I'm sure that I'm allergic to them since I'm allergic to just about everything (grass, weeds, mold, treets, dogs, cats, feathers, etc.) I'm glad you're ok and atleast were aware of paly toxins so they could treat you according. Here's to a speedy recovery.


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Old 01/12/2012, 03:29 PM   #21
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I feel ur pain man, I was fraggin Zoos a couple of days ago and got a bit of mucus in my eye -_-". now i regret not wearing googles even tho they were in front of me whenever i walk by my tank or look at my right eye. I luckily flushed it outta my eye as soon as it happened, but sadly i got a messed up red/ pink eye (my eyesight has not been contemplated still 100% vision). Currently on antibiotic eyedrops and being asked by every person who passes by me at school and work if i am okay..
trust me safety first!


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Old 01/12/2012, 03:46 PM   #22
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Here is a good read.
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/no...tore-near-you/

I would say my timeline of events was about the same but within 2 hours I knew I was in real trouble. I went to lutherin hospital. Thanks for the support! As long as my story helps just 1 person avoid this then I feel like it at least has some positives.

aandfsocr04, thats exactly what I was doing. Trying to get rid of the ugly things They were standard old green palys...


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Old 01/12/2012, 03:51 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Hyperion1337 View Post
I feel ur pain man, I was fraggin Zoos a couple of days ago and got a bit of mucus in my eye -_-". now i regret not wearing googles even tho they were in front of me whenever i walk by my tank or look at my right eye. I luckily flushed it outta my eye as soon as it happened, but sadly i got a messed up red/ pink eye (my eyesight has not been contemplated still 100% vision). Currently on antibiotic eyedrops and being asked by every person who passes by me at school and work if i am okay..
trust me safety first!

I did the same thing about 5 years ago but I was wearing safety glasses. The juice bounced off my nose and into my eye. I use swimming goggles now when I frag them (never again). I think it is more then likely from bacteria but boy did it suck. Took me a few weeks to get my vision back to normal but unfortunately I have always been much more sensitive to bright light particularly the glare of the sun off cars. After that happened there were a few occasions that I had to wait for someone to come get me because I was on the side of the road with my eyes closed.

I am officially polyped out Never will I ever have one in a tank again.


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Old 01/12/2012, 03:59 PM   #24
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Yeah lol i think i'll start selling of some of my zoas and only keep the really nice looking ones. Soon, I wont have any left in my tank, too much of a risk... sps ftw


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Old 01/12/2012, 04:03 PM   #25
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for you chemistry buffs. This is palytoxin.



Taken from comments in the story I linked earlier...

Quote:
its mechanism: binding to sodium-potassium-ATPase pumps and converting them into open ion-leakage channels, wow! No ion gradients, no neuron or muscle function.



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