Heading to the Beach? How to Avoid Getting Stung by a Stingray

San Diego lifeguards offer tips for avoiding stingrays

After the weekend’s hot weather drew crowds to the San Diego coastline — and a man stung by a stingray in Pacific Beach was hospitalized — lifeguards are reminding swimmers how to avoid injuries at the beach.

“The best thing to do is shuffle your feet especially if you’re entering an area where there are not a lot of other people,” said Lt. John Sandmeyer of the San Diego Lifeguard Service. “Because it usually means that the stingrays have not been disturbed there.”

Swimmers catching waves or running into the water and planting their feet in the sand are often the ones to get stung, he said.

Stingrays defend themselves by injecting the venomous spines on their tails and cause about 2,000 injuries a year in the United States. The painful wounds can take months to heal, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

If you are stung, the San Diego lifeguards advise soaking your wound in water as hot as you can stand.

“And then we of course will also treat the wound for infection,” Sandmeyer said.

Stingray stings are a common occurrence, often up to 20 a day, he said.

“It’s variable but we get stingrays all the time, mostly during the summer,” he said. “It’s been unseasonably warm all year.”

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