Stingray Injury Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian, MD on January 15, 2022

Call 911 if the person has symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as:

See Severe Allergic Reaction Treatment.

1. Bathe Wound in Seawater and Remove Pieces

  • While still in water, irrigate wound to remove fragments of spine and tissue.
  • Get the person out of the water.
  • Gently manually remove obvious pieces of spine. Do not remove pieces of spine from the neck, chest, or abdomen

2. Stop Bleeding

  • Apply pressure above the wound if it is bleeding.

3. Soak Wound in Hot Water For Pain Relief

  • Hot water inactivates any remaining venom and may relieve pain.
  • Do not soak in hot water more than 90 minutes as the skin can burn

4. Scrub Wound

  • Clean with soap and water.
  • Apply dressing. Do not tape it closed.

5. Go to a Hospital Emergency Room

6. Follow Up

  • At the hospital, the barb and remnants of stingray spine will be removed.
  • X-rays and CT scans may be done.
  • A tetanus shot may be administered, if necessary.
  • An antibiotic and pain reliever may be prescribed.
  • Closely watch the wound as it heals for the possibility of infection.

Show Sources


Diaz, J. Journal of the Louisiana State Medical Society, July-August, 2007.

Australian Venom Research Unit: "First Aid Information: Stingray."

Divers Alert Network (DAN): "Stingray Envenomation."

Rosson, C. Western Journal of Medicine, January 1989.

Evans, R. Journal of Accidents and Emergency Medicine, 1996.

Stingray Injury Information from eMedicineHealth.

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