This Is What Happens To Your Body If You Get Stung By A Stingray

Stingrays are beautiful animals that glide on the ocean floor. These disk-shaped fish are normally docile around humans, but will defend themselves when threatened. Stingrays have a long serrated spine with a barb at the end that they use as a defensive weapon (via National Geographic). The point of the spine also contains venom that can cause serious pain.

If you're stung by a stingray, you'll know right away. In addition to severe pain, symptoms of a sting may include bleeding, dizziness, fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, nausea, swelling, and vomiting (via Healthline). Stingray venom is rarely deadly but may cause serious reactions in some people.

You should seek medical attention after any sting because the serrated spine can cause more damage under the skin than might seem obvious at first glance. If you are stung by a stingray and experience shortness of breath, muscle paralysis, sweating, seizures, or fainting, it is crucial that you seek emergency medical care immediately. Some people will go into shock after being stung and others may have allergic reactions. You should also visit a doctor if your wound does not begin to heal quickly or if it becomes infected

Most stingray stings happen when someone accidentally steps on the animal

Stingrays live in warm waters and are commonly found in states like Florida or California in the United States. Because they glide on the ocean floor, it can be easy to step on them when entering the water. This is especially true when running into the ocean. When entering warm ocean waters, shuffle your feet in the sand to inform stingrays you are coming (via Verywell Health).

If you do get stung, it is important to stay calm. The stingray uses its stinger as a defense and will not stick around to harm you further. After getting back to shore, have someone call 911 immediately if the wound is in your chest or abdomen. If the barb is still in your skin, do not attempt to remove it. This can cause more damage to your body when not removed correctly. Control bleeding when possible and wait for help to arrive.

It is best to let medical professionals tend to the wound, but you can attempt to clean small wounds that are not located in the chest or abdomen if help is delayed. Gently clean the area with water and soap. Avoid removing any stingers unless help is delayed significantly. Pain from a sting will be the most severe for the first 30 to 90 minutes and should taper after that, but may last for a couple of days until it can be controlled.