Stingray Injury (cont.)
Stingray Injury Treatment
Self-Care at Home
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.
David DuBois, MD, MS, FAAEM, FACEP
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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