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Stingray Injury (cont.)

What Are the Exams and Tests for Stingray Injuries?

Rapid evaluation and entry into the treatment area of the emergency department may be needed, especially if the stinger penetrated the person's head, chest, or abdomen.

Typical steps in diagnosing the extent of the stingray injury are as follows:

  • Blood pressure and pulse are checked.
  • The doctor performs an initial examination to see if resuscitation (help in breathing) is needed.
  • The doctor treats the pain and takes care of the wound.
  • Once the injured person is stable, X-rays may be taken if the doctor thinks foreign matter or parts of the stingray's sheath and spine remain in the wound.
  • Blood tests are usually not needed.

What Are the Home Remedies for a Stingray Injury?

Care of the injured person begins at the scene and is first directed at safe rescue and removal of the victim from the water.

A stingray injury that does not need to be checked by a doctor is rare.

  • Home first aid measures should be started, but a medical evaluation is also warranted.
  • Lay the person down.
  • If the person is vomiting, position the person on the side so they do not inhale vomit.
  • Stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure with a clean cloth or whatever is available such as a beach towel.
  • You may attempt to remove the stinger with tweezers to decrease toxin exposure if doing so will not cause further injury. Be careful not to injure yourself with the stinger.
  • If there is no pain, then treat as a puncture wound or laceration by cleaning and disinfecting with soap and water.
  • If there is pain, bleeding, or more than a minor wound, and symptoms such as faintness or sweating (which indicate that venom has been absorbed into the body), arrange for transportation to a medical facility.
    • If in a remote area, treat the pain by immersing the injured area in water as hot (but not burning) as the person is able to tolerate (113°F or 45°C) for 30-90 minutes. This neutralizes the painful effects of the venom because the venom is inactivated by heat.
    • Oral pain medication such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can be given if the person is not vomiting and not allergic to it.
  • If you belong to Divers Alert Network (DAN), call their emergency number to obtain medical evacuation assistance and arrange for referral to a medical care facility. Your DAN membership card has details.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/15/2016
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Stingrays (ie, elasmobranchs) are bottom-dwelling cartilaginous fish that have a flattened body, one or more stout spines on the tail, gill slits on the lower surface of the head, teeth modified into 2 large crushing plates, and no dorsal fin.

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