Or what we like to call the “Stingray Shuffle".
The round stingray, or Urolophus halleri, is brown in color often mottled or spotted on the top with a white to orange underside. It is one of six rays found in local waters, and can reside from Panama to Humboldt Bay, living in ocean waters from just a few inches to depths as deep as 70 feet.
The stingray has a long tail with a serrated barb, which is commonly referred to as a “stinger.” The barb is covered with a protein based venom which is similar to that of a bee.
When spooked or threatened the stingray whips its tail and uses the barb to fend off the threat. The barb can cause a small puncture wound, which may or may not bleed. Most patients feel pain at the wound site immediately, and if left untreated will cause intense radiating pain.
To reduce your chances of getting “stung” shuffle your feet, which stirs up sand and debris causing the stingray to simply swim off.
If you are stung here are the things you need to know:
1. Seek treatment- Contact the nearest lifeguard or get assistance.
2. Clean the wound- Rinse the wound and keep it as clean as possible
3. Treat the toxin- Soak the wound in hot water, as hot as you can tolerate, and repeat as water cools. The hot water breaks down the toxin or poison. Continue to treat until pain is diminished. This treatment may take up to 60 minutes.
4. Treat the wound- Bandage with a clean and sterile dressing. Watch for signs of infection and seek medical care if the wound appears dirty or infected.
In rare instances a patient can suffer an allergic reaction or suffer anaphylactic shock. If you feel tightness in your chest or difficulty breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Most Ocean Lifeguards are medically trained, holding Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certificates, with some being certified Paramedics and your Encinitas Lifeguards are always here to help.