Summer is typically the time for stingrays, which are known to lie on the bottom of the ocean close to shore and cover themselves with sand. Summer also means it’s time for folks to do the stingray “shuffle” while in the water! This action sends out vibrations that cause the creatures to swim away. Stingrays travel in groups and are most active between 11 AM and 3 PM. Shuffling is a must-do to avoid stepping on the otherwise harmless creatures. Another way to prevent yourself from being stung is to wear protective footwear while in the water.
“Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, you may still get stung, which can be extremely painful,” says Betsy Novakovich, RN, Supervisor of Marco Urgent Care. Stingrays can sting with the sharp barb found at the base of their tails that carries a protein-based venom that enters through the wound. Extreme pain results within the first 30 to 90 minutes after stepping on a stingrays’ barb.
“Your wound will need immediate attention, and the faster you can get treatment, the better off you will be,” explains Betsy Novakovich. “Marco Urgent Care can help.”
If you need immediate attention, the Marco Urgent Care is open 8 AM – 7:30 PM, seven days a week and is located at 40 Heathwood Dr., Marco Island, or call 239–624-8540.
STINGRAY STING SYMPTOMS
- An immediate, sharp, excruciating pain that peaks in 1-2 hours
- Bleeding wound
- Wounded area may become swollen and may turn blue or red
- Lymph nodes may become swollen
- Nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, muscle cramps, tremors, paralysis, fainting, seizures, elevated heart rate, and decreased blood pressure may develop.
STINGRAY STING TREATMENT
- As soon as possible, the wound should be soaked for 30-90 minutes in very hot water (as hot as can be endured without causing burns). The heat inactivates the poison and dramatically relieves the pain.
- If stingray barbs are present, they need to be removed.
- If you have an allergic reaction that is severe, you need to be given steroid medicine to help control it.
- If you are in pain, medicine may be prescribed to make you more comfortable.
- Blood tests, ultrasound, wound culture, or X-rays may be done to check for other injuries or signs of infection.
- Treatment will depend on the location and severity of the wound.
- Tetanus shot should be considered.