Beachgoers entering the water should be on the alert for stingrays.
Rays like to hide just under the sand in shallow, warm water and can deliver a painful surprise when disturbed, as Cottage Health noted in a news release.
To avoid a stingray, swimmers should shuffle their feet and avoid stomping as they get into the water.
The “sting” from a ray results in a wound that is similar to being jabbed with a pointy and serrated knife, and a toxic venom enters the skin (a process called envenomation). While the sting wound tends to be small, the level of pain can be very intense and immediate. Swelling and discoloration also can occur.
Doctors recommend soaking the injured area in hot water for 60 to 90 minutes and getting medical attention right away. The stingray’s barb sometimes can break off and remain embedded in the skin and, if left untreated, an infection can occur. A doctor may be needed to remove the barb.
This summer safety tip was provided by Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Level I Trauma Center. See more tips at cottagehealth.org/summertips.
— Marilyn McMahon