Hot water immersion is the most effective method for decreasing or eliminating the pain resulting from stingray stings, a new study is to reveal.
Scientists from the University of California examined clinical data on 119 cases in which people had been stung by stingrays and found that pain most had pain relief within 30 minutes of submerging the wound in hot water.
Their study, which is due to be published shortly in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, reveals that 88% of those admitted with acute pain following stingray envenomation had complete relief of pain within 30 minutes, without administration of pain killers.
Those patients who received painkillers before they submerged the affected limb on hot water needed no further pain relief afterwards.
"Stingray stings are common along coastal regions of this country and the world. The tail of the stingray contains a barbed stinger attached to a venom gland and contained within an integumentary sheath. During a sting, the stinger and sheath can become embedded in the soft tissue of the victim, and venom is injected into the wound.
"Our findings suggest that hot water immersion was effective in decreasing or eliminating the pain associated with stingray envenomation in our series.
"Due to the high potential for bacterial contamination in these puncture wounds, standard antibiotic prophylaxis may be prudent.
"Although stingray barbs can be radio-opaque, radiography in our series failed to detect barbs or other foreign bodies in stung extremities, although no barbs or other stinger material were found on inspection of wounds."
For more details see the paper: Clark RF, Girard RH, Rao D, Ly BT, Davis DP (2007) - Stingray envenomation: a retrospective review of clinical presentation and treatment in 119 cases. J Emerg Med. 2007 Jul;33(1):33-7.