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Stingray Sting

  • Medical Author: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Wilderness: Stingray Sting Related Articles

Stingray Sting Facts

  • Stingrays have flat bodies with long, slender tails that have serrated spines, which contain venom.
  • Their serrated spines can cause lacerations (cuts) and puncture wounds.
  • Stingrays are widely distributed in tropical to temperate waters.
  • They are not aggressive, so an injury from a stingray usually occurs when a swimmer or diver unexpectedly steps on one.
  • Stingray stings are one of the most common dive and beach-related injuries.

Stingray Sting Symptoms

Stingray Sting Treatment

If medical attention is not readily available, the following guidelines are recommended in treating a stingray sting:

  • Flush the wound with fresh water.
  • For pain relief, soak the wound in water as hot as the person can tolerate (approximately 110 F, 43.3 C)
  • Use tweezers to remove the stingers.
  • Scrub the wound with soap and fresh water.
  • Do not cover the wound with tape or close it with stitches. Apply pressure to stop the bleeding.
  • Apply topical antibiotic ointment if signs of infection, such as pus, redness, or heat, occur.
  • Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if necessary.

Oral antibiotics are usually recommended for infection.

  • Continue antibiotics for at least 5 days after all signs of infection have cleared.
  • Let the doctor know about any drug allergy prior to starting an antibiotic.
  • Use a sunscreen because some antibiotics may cause sensitivity to the sun.
  • Patients with an impaired immune system (for example, HIV, diabetes, cancer) should seek medical care.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Stingray Sting

  • Most stingray injuries require immediate medical attention.
  • A doctor should be consulted about treatment with available medications.

Stingray Pictures

Picture of a spotted eagle ray (sting ray)

Stingray spine. It is clear why these can cause either a puncture wound or a slashing laceration. The size of the spine depends on the size and type of the stingray. Toothpick to pencil size is typical. Photo courtesy of Cecil Berry

Picture of Stingray Spine, Photo Courtesy of Cecil Berry

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Reviewed on 10/19/2018
References
Medically reviewed by Avrom Simon, MD; Board Certified Preventative Medicine with Subspecialty in Occupational Medicine

REFERENCE:

Alertdiver.com. Marine Envenomations: Vertebrates.

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