How to treat a stingray wound

This afternoon, my family and I were wading on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico off Galveston Island. A stingray cut one of my daughters on her foot. When I took her somewhere for help, the main thing they did was to put her foot in a pan of hot water. It only takes about 30 seconds for the heat from the water to bring relief by neutralizing the toxin from the stingray. You have to keep soaking a while longer or else the pain will come right back. The nurse said that a chemical hotpad makes a good treatment if you can’t get to hot water and that the same treatment is effective for other common stings in this area.

My daughter is fine now. The hot water and a topical antibiotic were all she needed.

4 thoughts on “How to treat a stingray wound

  1. That’s really useful! So perhaps a couple of those chem heatpacks would be a good addition to my beach kit. Supposedly it’s also helpful to neutralize the toxin by applying some baking soda.

  2. The nurse I mentioned also said that a spray bottle with vinegar would be useful for combating the venom from animals not covered by the hot water treatment. (Unfortunately I forget which animals these were.) I suppose these venoms are alkaline and the acid from the vinegar neutralizes the pH.

    He said that in other parts of the world, a wider variety of treatments would be necessary, but along the Texas coast nearly everything could be treated by heat or vinegar.

  3. Charles R. McCreary

    If you are far out in the Texas bays wadefishing and get whacked by a stingray, one source of hot water is the tattle-tale stream of water from your boat motor. It’s the small stream of water coming from the rear of the engine housing that tells you your engine’s water pump is working.

    Fill a cooler with the stream and soak foot/lower leg while heading back to the marina and thence to the emergency room.

    Better yet, do the Texas Shuffle. While wading in Texas bays and even in the gulf, shuffle your feet. Instead of stepping on a sting ray, you will nudge them and they will swim off (usually).

  4. I was recently stung in the Florida Keys by a stingray. The pain was crazy. I almost passed out several times and became very nauseous. my ankle bled profusely.There was a clinic just a few minutes away. They put my foot in hot water and the pain immediately decreased. They put me on 7 days of antibiotics and have me a tetanus shot. I guess because of how deep the wound was. Within 3 hours the pain went from a 10 to a 2. A little swelling, tenderness and a small hole were all the evidence left by the next day.

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