Wilderness: Scorpionfish, Lionfish, and Stonefish Poisoning
Scorpionfish, lionfish, and stonefish are all poisonous fish that live in tropical and temperate oceans, especially the Red Sea and Indian and Pacific Oceans. They have erectile spines on their dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins. Because these fish are not aggressive, contact with them and the poisonings that result are usually accidental.
Contact with ornate lionfish causes mild poisoning. Contact with camouflaged scorpionfish causes moderate-to-severe poisoning. The motionless stonefish, when contacted, causes severe -to -life-threatening poisoning.
- Intense throbbing pain peaks in 1-2 hours and lasts 12 hours.
- Redness, bruising, swelling, numbness, tingling, and tissue shedding at the wound site may occur.
- Severe reactions include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, tremors, abnormal heart rhythms, weakness, shortness of breath, seizures, decreased blood pressure, fainting, and paralysis. Death may occur.
- Remove the exposed person from the water to prevent drowning.
- Immerse the wound for 30-90 minutes in water as hot as the poisoned person can tolerate. Repeat as necessary to control pain.
- Use tweezers to remove any spines in the wound.
- Scrub the wound with soap and water. Then flush the affected area with fresh water.
- Do not apply tape to close the wound.
When to Seek Medical Care
All cases of scorpionfish, lionfish, and stonefish poisoning require medical attention to ensure no foreign material remains in the wound. Antivenom is given, especially for stonefish poisoning.
For More Information
MedlinePlus, Scorpion Fish
MedlinePlus, Marine animal stings or bites
ThinkQuest, Sea scorpion
ThinkQuest, Lion-fish, Turkey fish, Fire-fish
ThinkQuest, Stone fish
Synonyms and Keywords
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