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Stingray Injury (cont.)

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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/26/2014
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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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