Posted by Michael Barber, September 14, 2013 (last updated on November 28, 2018)
Stingray stings are not like bee, wasp, or jellyfish stings. They can be extremely painful and require immediate or urgent care. Here are four reasons why you must learn the Stingray Shuffle and what could happen if you don't!
Stingray Sting Protection
The Stingray Shuffle is a real and determined movement to help you avoid stings. The Tampa Bay Times offers that most people get stung because they dash for the water and enter using big steps. Large steps attract stingrays that live in shallow water. Stingrays bury themselves under a thin layer of sand and large steps entice stingrays to reveal themselves and sting.
The Stingray Shuffle is simply "sliding your feet along the sand instead of taking big steps." To a stingray, these sliding movements feel more like vibrations, which scares them away. As the Tampa Bay Times says, "The ideas is to push the sand forward and cause a disturbance that displaces the stingray without you stepping on it." Stingrays also travel in groups or schools and are most active between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. so during these times the Stingray Shuffle is an absolute must-do.
Nasty Barb of a Stingray
The pain from a stingray sting is severe and feels like sharp, radiating pain. Almost all stings occur on the top of the foot. Their stings are full of venom. You can tell a stingray sting if there is a small V-shaped cut on your ankle or the top of your foot. The barb of a stingray is much larger than that of a jellyfish.
Painful Treatment for Stingray Stings
While it's best to notify the lifeguard on duty and seek out an urgent care location, if you are stung there are a few things you can do while awaiting treatment. First, elevate your foot and apply pressure directly on the area with a towel or cloth. Use peroxide, soap, and water to clean the area once bleeding has stopped. Retail clinics and the doctors who work in them say hot water that is almost boiling will help ease the pain of a stingray sting. Very hot water helps to neutralize the venom and must be applied to the stung area for at least 30 to 90 minutes. This is a tricky solution, especially for young children. If the water is too hot, the skin can be burned. This is why it's best to know where to find urgent care near you to ensure the proper care is received.
Allergic Complications of Stingray Stings
Some people can have a severe allergic reaction to stingray bites. They may experience nausea, vomiting, or have noticeable redness and swelling around the affected area. In addition, because stingray lacerations are open, it's easy for them to become infected.
If you plan on heading into waters where stingrays have been known to sting, do an Internet search on "urgent care near me" and setup an emergency plan for action you can implement if stung. Doctors at urgent care clinics will prescribe antibiotics to stop infection. They will also be able to gauge the right temperature of water to soothe the pain as well as prescribe pain killers if needed.
Because the stingray barb can create severe pain, infection or an allergic reaction, the Stingray Shuffle is a great way to avoid an unexpected attack.