Stung by a Stingray?
My husband was stung by a stingray in the Gulf - west coast of Florida - on Saturday. He was treated at the time with a fisherman's remedy: meat tenderizer. He passed out twice from the intense pain, which finally let up about five hours later. His foot was still extremely swollen when he went to doctor Monday morning. This was a local doctor, not at all familiar with stingray stings. 875 mg Augmentin was prescribed and no other advice was given. A close friend was hospitalized for two weeks from a stingray sting. We are most concerned about the doctor's lack of knowledge than of the sting. Please reply.
It's really a horrible experience to get stung by a stingray. Every time I hear one of these stories I cringe. Stingrays may be beautiful creatures from a distance, but up close it's a completely different story. Each one of those barbed spines near the base of the flat fish's tail is connected to a sac of venom. Although the stings are extremely painful and unpleasant, fortunately they are not life-threatening and rarely leave people with any kind of permanent injury.
It sounds as if you had nearly as horrible an experience with your doctor as with the ray. Any doctor should be able to look up the proper treatment, even if he or she had never treated a stingray sting before. I always rely on my Merck Manual if faced with a situation that's not common to my practice. If the doctor wasn't sure, he could have called a poison information center to get the treatment protocol, or referred you to someone who did know what they were doing.
Here's the best way to treat a ray sting: First, wash the wound gently with cold salt water, using a washcloth. You want to get any bit of the fish or its spine out of the wound, because they keep releasing poison. Then soak the wound in very hot water - hot-tub temperature (about 105° F) for a half hour to an hour and a half. The venom from stingrays and many other poisonous fish breaks down in hot water, so the pain should ease significantly. You don't usually give antibiotics for a ray sting, but you would apply an antiseptic like Neosporin. I trust your husband is better now.