WATCH OUT FOR CORAL!

18-11-18

So let’s talk about coral. We know it looks beautiful, it is endangered and if we want to keep it we really need to take more care of this world! But did you also know coral is the reason a lot of (kite)surfers get injuries while being on kitesurf vacation? Check how you can treat a coral cut, below!

On Instagram I met @KITETASTIC , also known as Maren. Just like me, Maren also had been through surgery & couldn’t kite. Her story started with bumping into coral… Fun fact is a lot of kitesurfers bump into coral. (I’ve done it too.) Most of us West Europeans don’t know the dangers of bumping into coral when we visit a warm foreign country for the first time to kite. If you’re a reader, keep reading. If you’re a listener, listen to our conversation in the video link below. Maren is going to share her story with us!

“My name is Maren, I am 36 years old. I’m from Germany and I start kitesurfing one year ago. This year, at the end of August, I was in El Gouna in Egypt. It was my first time there. It also was my first time being at a kite spot with warm shallow water. I was so excited to go kiting that first day! So, I made everything ready and jumped into the water… Go go go, get on that board!

QUIZ: What do you know about coral?

What is coral?
How fast does coral grow?
You've been cut by coral, now what?
Unfortunately it was low tide and the water was only 20 centimeters deep. To be honest, I was not used to such shallow water! The corals were directly below the water surface and some of them even above it! My board got stuck and I fell into the coral field. I had a lot of scratches and a wound on my heel, just a small one. I wore neoprene shoes so, you can imagine: the impact was pretty hard. But nevermind! I kept on kiting…
 
After one day, my foot was swollen and the wound was inflamed. I had to take antibiotic pills for some days, but fortunately I could kite again after 3 days. I had a great holiday, everything was fine! But back at home, wearing closed shoes, I felt that there was something wrong. The wound on my heel was healed, but I had a weird feeling. I went to the doctor again and there were two coral pieces inside my heel. To keep it short: I had to take more antibiotic pills and at the end I needed surgery.
 

In my opinion, corals are not that bad as you may think now. They are sharp and very hard and you should try to stay away from them if possible. But you don’t have to be afraid of them. All my superficial scratches healed completely problem-free. No inflammation or something like that. If you have contact with corals, clean the wounds directly and keep them clean. And if you are not sure, follow your gut feeling and go to the doctor for a check-up!”
 
Fortunately Maren is back on that water again! 
 
A cut made by coral is more likely to infect & it also may contain poison from the coral itself.
 
So, how to clean a cut made by coral: 
  • Clean the cut thoroughly and as hard as possible. (You can use a toothbrush for this.) Rinse the cut with clean sweet water as soon as possible.
  • If it is stinging then you can rinse it with a form of acetic acid to reduce the effect of toxins from the coral. (Most use vinegar for this, but I was scrubbed with lemon.) 
  • Rinse the cut daily and apply an antibiotic on to it.
  • Antibiotics are recommended, so you better see a doctor. He/She can tell you if you need it.
  • If you have pain you can take some pain medication.

Just like Maren said, it’s best to stay away from it, for both parties. 🙂 

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