Catfish Sting Treatment

Call 911 if: 

1. Get the Person Out of the Water

2. Do CPR if the Person Is Not Breathing

3. Clean Wound

  • Use tweezers to remove all catfish spines.
  • Scrub wound with soap and water.
  • Rinse extensively with fresh or salt water.

4. Submerge Wound in Hot Water

  • Soak for at least 30 minutes in hot (not scalding) water with epsom salt.

5. Do Not Cover Wound

6. Treat Pain

7. See a Doctor As Soon As Possible

8. Follow Up

  • The doctor will clean and treat the wound and may give a tetanus shot, if needed.
  • The person may receive pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on November 02, 2019



Fermie, P. The Illustrated Practical Book of First Aid & Family Health, Lorenz Books, 2005.

Shepherd, S. Journal of Wilderness Medicine, 1994.

Health and Safety Institute GotoAID: “Catfish Sting.”

Utox Update, University of Utah College of Pharmacy: “Marine Envenomations.”

Catfish Sting Treatment Information from eMedicineHealth.

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