Acces to the Website of the Health's Ministry Back to home page home-page
Bathing water quality
Sanitary control organisation
Advices and recommendations
Water and health

What are the dangers of bathing and related activities?


Table of contents


Bite envenomation

published on 04/16/2008


Moray Eels

Moray eels often hide in rock crevices. Remain at a respectable distance to watch them. They never attack man unprompted, but can bite if they feel threatened. Their venom toxicity varies from species to species, the most venomous being found in tropical waters.

Signs of envenomation and recommended action:

The species found in mainland France, mainly along the Mediterranean coast are not very venomous, but their bites can be aggravated by the presence of soiled food products (and thus bacteria) rotting in their teeth. For this reason, it is important to disinfect the wound fully, in order to avoid the risk of microbial infection and septicaemia. The bites can lead to some anxiety and shivering, which dissipates on its own. Analgesics can sometimes be necessary, as recommended by medical workers. See a physician if symptoms persist, especially if you were bitten by a tropical species.
moray eel

Sea Snakes

sea snake
Sea snakes are very common in the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Reunion Island), but cannot be found in the Atlantic and Caribbean. They generally live at the sea bottom, near the coastline, and can all inject venom. Sea snake venom is the most toxic known to man (it can be up to 20 times more toxic than that of cobras). Fortunately, most of the species are not aggressive.

Signs of envenomation and recommended action:

Though painless, sea snake bites are fearsome and can cause death. The first signs show up soon after the bite and include muscular pain, convulsions and muscle contraction, followed by paralysis gradually extending through the body. In the event of a sea snake bite, the wound needs to be disinfected as quickly as possible, moderate pressure placed on the bitten limb, and the victim taken to the hospital for emergency care.