Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Stung by A Ray!

Last weekend, I was at the beach, wading around in the shallow waters on a beach off of beautiful Florida's Gulf coast.

All of a sudden, I felt a swift, sharp, barb strike my right calf. I couldn't help screaming a non-family friendly synonym of "ouch!".

My instinct was to run away from the scene towards the beach. I noticed blood trickling out of a narrow gash, about a quarter of an inch long.

It turned out that I had been stung by a sting ray, although I did not know it at the time. The pain was excruciating, and lingered around for well over six hours.

Here's what I learned: (i) you should "shuffle" or "skate" along the sea; not "step" walk. When approached laterally, sting rays know how to get out of the way, and don't feel threatened, and (ii) douse the wound in really hot water, as soon (and for as long) as possible. The hot water breaks down some of the proteins in the venom, and dramatically reduces the pain.

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