Friday, July 16, 2010

Attack of the Killer La Jolla, California Stingrays: What to do when Stung by a Sting Ray

ca stingray
Southern California 'round' stingray responsible for the recent incidents along beaches. These little guys were caught off the pier at Venice Beach, California.

by the Left Coast Rebel

Both the missus and I have part of the day off from typical life and career stuff today so we were planning on venturing down to the beach to catch up on some relaxation and fun. I always make it a point to do my best to convince her to enter the waters....I wonder if I should not mention the local San Diego stingray attacks to her? Or would that put me in hot water (which is the best RX for a sting ray incident)?

San Diego's 10 News has this:

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Several injuries as a result of stingrays were reported Thursday at a popular local beach.

As of 7:15 p.m. Thursday, authorities said 25 people were stung by stingrays at La Jolla Shores -- the same location where at least 60 people reported being injured on Wednesday.

Lifeguards said at least 34 people reported being stung at other beaches in San Diego.One man was treated for a sting that left a deep gash to his left foot, and two others complained of trouble breathing and required a trip to the hospital.

Other sting victims were OK after soaking their injuries in hot water.
Surfer Jacob Silverman told 10News, "I just saw a dark ray-shaped thing down in the water ... I'm not that worried about it. As a surfer it's pretty common in Southern California. If you know what you're doing out there, sort of brush your feet on the bottom then you're going to be OK."

Lifeguards say they are staying ready in case more people are stung.

Frankly I'm not all that surprised to see this happening. About 10 years ago a friend and I would venture just north of the Children's Cove area of La Jolla to 'free dive' and partake in spear fishing. It is an awesome sport (and dangerous unless you are an excellent swimmer). Anyhow, you wouldn't have believed the number of stingrays that we would typically see during the summer - they're everywhere below you as you first dip your mask in the water and take in your surroundings.

CNN Video of the San Diego stingray victims:

It's not just Sandy-Eggo either that is featuring the Attack of the Killer Stingrays, this report came in from Los Angeles' Seal Beach yesterday:

SEAL BEACH – Six people were stung by stingrays at Seal Beach Wednesday, but no one had to be hospitalized, authorities said.

Nearly 90 stings have been reported in the last 30 days, said Lifeguard Chief Joe Bailey on Tuesday. Lifeguards have set up first-aid stations for swimmers and surfers who have suffered an injury.

Stingrays have not been a problem on the shores of Newport Beach because the surf has been so high lately, said Jennifer Schulz of the Newport Beach Fire Department. Shulz said when stingrays look for food they go into calm water.

Lifeguards are advising residents to do the "stingray shuffle" while swimming in the oceans this summer.

.Officials said the victims were treated with hot water at the lifeguard headquarters

Some friendly advice on stingray stings for beach-goers from
This is something you gotta watch out for here in San Diego. Small rays tend to hang out in the shallow water right where you usually tend to walk out. If you are not wearing booties, shuffle your feet and splash alot while walking out, this should scare them out of there hiding place. However, if you step on them, they have this painful barb on their tail that hurts quite well, so much so usually that your surf outting will be cancelled.

And if you happen to get stung by a stingray:

1. The victim of a stingray sting will need medical attention. Stingray stings are very painful and victims will at a minimum need medication for pain control. Follow universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if you have it.

2. Control any bleeding and follow basic first aid steps while waiting for the ambulance.

3. Clean the wound with soap and fresh, clean water.

4. Remove small parts or barbs of the stinger with tweezers or pliers. Only remove stingers if emergency medical care will be significantly delayed. A long stinger would be considered an impaled object. DO NOT REMOVE STINGERS FROM THE CHEST OR ABDOMEN!

Removing stingers can lead to severe bleeding. Remember to control bleeding from any tissue damage.

5. If medical care will be significantly delayed, some of the toxin may be neutralyzed by immersing the cleaned wound in fresh, hot water (110 - 113 degrees Farenheit) or by placing towels soaked in hot water on the wound. Be careful not to make the water too hot and scald (burn) the victim.

Cross posted to Left Coast Rebel


  1. Proof - I know this is is oh-so-not-political so feel free to jettison this if it doesn't meet your criteria....

  2. According to "Friends" you're supposed to pee on it!

    We do more than the political here. If it interests you enough to write about it, there's probably someone out there who wants to read it!

  3. Thanks Proof. The 'peeing' thing may work but it also comes with a possible law enforcement issue :)

  4. I catch these guys all the time out of Dana Point.. I handle them with no fear i have not seen the barb on the end of their tail and inspected quite diligently. Although they are spikey all over.. Could this not be a stingray? Or maybe just barbless on their tails?