Crown of Thorns

Question:
We have a serious problem with COTs on our housereef and we have been collecting them the past few weeks. Could you please send us as much information you may have on them?
On our last collection, I kicked the bag containing COT by accident and one thorn stung me on my ankle. It has then swelled up quite badly, and my entire ankle and food is double the size. The pain is tolerable, but it itches like crazy as well. What can I do to bring down this swelling?
As a first aid procedure, I soaked my foot in hot water for about two hours, and have been applying cortizon cream thrice a day. I am on my feet most of the day, and that seem to have made swelling bad. I am also on an
inflammation medicine given to me by a doctor because of my current back problem.
If you have any suggestions as to how to bring the swellings down, I will very much appreciate it.

Answer:
First of all, you should be seen by a Doctor, as your problem may be related to an ongoing and undertreated infection which should deserve immediate medical attention. Without a correct medical examination and report it would be both difficult and unethical to suggest any treatment.
I believe you refer to the starfish known as Crown Of Thorns. In this case the first aid treatment with heat that you did has probably been useful to mitigate the subjective symptoms.
The suggested treatment is to keep the injured part in non scalding water (43 - 45 celsius) for 30-90 minutes, repeatable if pain recurs. Any visible piece(s) of the spines or the sheath that overlies the venom glands should be removed. The wound should be scrubbed with soap and water and irrigated vigorously with fresh heated water. If the puncture is small, irrigation may be difficult, but should be attempted using a plastic catheter or syringe. The wound should not be taped / sewed close. If there are signs of infection, or if the wound is deep (completely through the skin into fat or muscle, particularly on the hand or foot) antibiotics should be administered.
Marine wounds, in general, frequently tend to become infected. The infectuous bacteria are often different from those found on land and can cause serious infections and illness. Prophylactic antibiotic therapy may be the indicated choice in these cases (to prevent, rather than to treat the infection). Normally effective antibiotics for marinel life infections are: ciprofloxacin (500 to 750 mg every 12 hours by mouth, trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole one double strength tablet every 12 hours. Other useful antibiotics can be tertracycline, 500 mg by mouth every 6 hours or doxycycline: 100 mg by mouth every 12 hours; these two antibiotics can cause photosensitive reactions. Any antibiotic can cause severe allergic reactions and should be administered under medical control.
If the infection is caused by more common "land" bacteria, antibiotics like penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, dicloxacillin, erythromycin or cephalexin, can also be used. A "land" bacteria infected wound would generally look reddened, swollen, and is painful. It may drain pus, carries a foul odor and can be accompanied by swollen glands between the infection and the heart ( in you case in the  groin). There may be red streaking in the skin from the wound toward the heart, indicating that the infection is spreading in the superficial lymphatic vessels. Fever may be present and indicates bacterial toxins into the blood stream. If the wound develops blisters, particularly if they appear blood-filled or darken to colors of ìblue, purple or black, a marine bacterai infection should be suspected. In all cases when an infection is suspected medical attention is mandatory. We suggest that you refer to DAN Maldives at the Bandos Hyperbaric Clinic (Tel 440088).