I stepped on a stingray’s tail

 

Hello! This entry has been moved to a different blog. Please continue to share your own experiences, offer advice and help us understand this phenomenon, there!

 

 

 

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65 thoughts on “I stepped on a stingray’s tail

  1. Holy moly! That is strange so many days after it doing that. I am assuming they checked for parasites? I got barbed today in exactly the same spot. I have had two children and surgery on my neck and the pain wasn’t as bad as what I felt today. I was in ankle deep water on the coast in Port Aransas, Tx and was treading very carefully, after last year, having a 3 ft shark swimming right by my husband’s leg in water barely at our calves, when I stepped on a ray. It must’ve been buried because I was looking right at the water and never seen it (maybe time for new glasses). My husband saw it when it swam away, said it was about nine inches around. I can’t imagine even living through a sting if the thing would have been bigger. I sure hope your foot continues to get better and you haven’t any more pain. (-:

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    1. When I was reading around on the internet, having the area inflame after a week was not unheard of. I’d be curious to know if yours does that too. Not to say that I’m glad you got stung because omg the pain!! I will also take the moment to say that I don’t think the one that got me was as big as yours (not that I saw anything). Now a month later, the area still has a scab, it still looks blackish, but it only tingle-hurts occasionally. Hopefully it’s just healing and I didn’t suffer too much nerve damage. I wish you the best while it heals and that you don’t get an abscess like I did. :)

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  2. Hi. This is the lady from 09/25 that got slapped by the stingray. My foot has been perfectly fine other than around right around the sting area felt hard, but only about the diameter of a quarter and my foot looked bruised. Not too bad, considering the substantial amount of pain I had. Now, 9 days out, this morning I woke up with it itching like crazy and the hard place diameter is now red. My husband said quit reading the internet, you’re going to end up with a club foot!! Yes, he is quite compassionate (-:. Anyway, hopefully this won’t elevate beyond the insane itching part. I wanted to ask you though, if you put anything on it to help with the itching? I tried Benedryl cream and that didn’t help any so just wondering (and hoping) what/if you tried anything that did? By the way, thank you for sharing story and pics. It’s interesting to see how this affected someone else. I mean if it unfortunately happened to someone else. Okay, well, anyway, thanks for the info..

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    1. I tried using otc hydrocortisone but it seemed to make it worse!! So to answer your question, all I did was take a benedryl. The nurse recommended also using claritin or zyrtec while it was inflamed. Really, besides the antibiotic I was on it was the test of time. Using an ACE wrap seemed to help keep me from scratching it, but I wouldn’t recommend an actual adhesive bandaid because that also seemed to irritate it.

      Hopefully you’ll get better!! Day 10 was the peak for me! Thanks for sharing your experience too because it’s nice to know that I wasn’t the only one!

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    2. Hi, I know your post is about 2 years old, but I am where you were. Its been 9 days and it is just now starting to itch and become a tad swollen. I am not too concerned and I have not seen a doctor, as the initial sting was painful, but bearable.
      Now, reading these posts I wonder what/how your outcome was and what you recommend?
      Thanks
      Chris

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  3. I was stung by a stingray and 7 days after mine started itching like crazy! I was lucky that the Dr in my Instacare use to work in Hawaii! He said that there is a small percentage of people who are allergic to tiny barbs inside. He said it would take months to heal on its own or he could give me a steroid shot and it should be healed in a week. I went for the shot and the itching and pain was gone in a hour. The entire sting was healed within a week or so but there was no more pain or stinging. Just wanted to pass it on for others that might be looking for answers.

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  4. I was stung last week at Pass A Grille Beach in St. Petersburg, Florida. The ray got the top of my foot, so all the bones up there prevented deep penetration. I did not seek medical attention, as the pain went away quickly and a doctor friend of mine said that if you don’t feel any more pain, then there is unlikely to be any barbs under the skin. It scabbed over, then the scab came off after a day of walking in dress shoes. I put on Polysporin and a Band-Aid, and now the wound is is unbearably itchy…

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    1. See! It seems that after about a week is when the itchiness comes about!! I hope everything clears up quickly for you.

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    2. Thank you for this information. I am one week out from a sting ray bite and woke up in the middle of the night with unbearable itching to find that it happened to others. I will call my doctor in the am. Any other tips?

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  5. Keep the comments coming everyone! And thanks for reading. I never knew this post would get so many hits! Maybe after enough testimonials we can come up with a working what-to-expect schedule, since there’s not much else out there in regards to the mysteries of stingray stings! :)

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    1. Hi I was stung 7 days ago on the bottom of my foot, amd yes, the pain was excrutiating, but the barb did not stay in my foot (checked by a local doctor). The swelling went down after day 3 but just yesterday (day 6) it started to itch horrificly. The doc perscribed antibiotics but I have not taken them. What to do now? Also, I want to go to the beach in a few days, is it too soon?

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      1. I’m no doctor, but I would strongly recommend doing what the doctor says…the antibiotics are a precaution because who know what stingrays carry and seawater isn’t the most sterile liquid on earth. And take a prescribed! All of it! Never take just 2 tabs…always the full course. My wound was wrapped up with gauze and I went out into the water anyways by day 2. As long as it’s covered (once again, sand/water…germ factories) I don’t see a problem. Just don’t push it. I hope it gets better!

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        1. Yes, do what the doctor says — and be sure to see a doctor! About 10 days after being stung, cellulitis of my foot and ankle developed. A 10-day course of antibiotics did the trick, and I am now symptom-free, with just a dime sized, short lump remaining at the wound site.

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      2. I was stung a couple weeks ago in the bottom of my heel, and was watching carefully to make sure the wound was kept clean and would heal without infection. I thought I was getting back to normal and then on the 7th day, the bottom of my foot – about 2 inch radius around the puncture- got red, hot, and incredibly itchy. I used ice to give me some relief which worked for a while. The next day the redness moved up my ankle – which is the direction I think the barb went – and started to swell so I had some antibiotics prescribed. By the time I got the antibiotics, the part of my foot that initially started itching started to look better, so I think it was just part of the healing process, as it seems like a lot of people have experienced. Now I’m almost to the end of the 2nd week and the redness and swelling is gone, and itches only occasionally.

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  6. Stung on top of foot below big toe last week while surfing. Soaked for 1.5 hours in really hot water at Lifeguard stand – helped. Seemed to “heal” and then on day 6, got red, swollen, tender and itchy. What?!?!? Went to Urgent Care – took X-rays and found no stinger in would. Said “delayed histamine reaction” / allergic reaction, and possibly infected. Put on antibiotics. This was my 3rd stingray sting — all have been different locations, with different initial pains, and different healing time afterwards. :-)

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    1. I guess it’s just the stingray!!! It would have been interesting to see if size made a difference or maybe species? Too bad no one gets a look at the attacker!

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  7. Oh the itch. Got stung and it hurt! Healed and pain went away after 24 hours. At day 8 the itching is intense. No pain and a little swollen area. Strange poison they give you. I’ll wait to see if it gets better tomorrow. If not I’ll get some ab’s at the doc. Good to hear I’m not alone here. I’ll keep an eye on it. Not sure if it’s fungal or a immune response to the venom. Good luck my fellow victims!

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  8. Hi, I received a sting on my ankle 8 days ago, I did have swelling and a decent bruise but all seemed ok. Then the itching started, I have left it for 2 days, however my ankle has swollen and is extremely inflamed and sore. I went to the dr today and he asked if I had a tetanus injection (which i hadn’t), he said that I have an infection and has put me on antibiotics and steroid cream. I have to go back in 3 days.

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  9. Thank you for posting this!! I know my comment is two years later but it really helps reading this.

    It has been 9 days since I got stung in Coronado San Diego. The itching and swelling just started. It has been bothering me all day and is making me worried! I have yet to see a doctor… Which is probably bad but I am out of the country and have to wait another ten days to go back home! Hopefully it is still just in the process of self healing. Do you think submerging the are in hot water again will help it or boost it to drain on its own? I haven’t tried anything to help relieve the itching and swelling, any tips?

    Thanks!!!!

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    1. Ice helped me. The itching was intense but went away after a day or two. It wasn’t infected, just seems to be part of the process of the sting ray poison.

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    2. I agree with VBROERSMA. To me it seemed to be the process considering it clears itself up in a few days. Since it’s not venom anymore, ice should be ok along with OTC hydrocortisones or allergy meds if it gets really bad. Good luck! Also, it’s been 2 years, but I continue to encourage posts! :) Thanks for reading.

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      1. So would you still recommend going to the doctor or just wait it out? It just itches, swells and stings sometimes.

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    3. @Chesca
      I was also in Coronado San Diego and was stung 10 days ago. The initial sting wasn’t too painful, so I just let it be. Today, back in NYC, it itches like crazy and is a little swollen, but no pain. What was your final outcome? Did you end up getting it checked out. I am not sure how versed NY doctors will be on the subject

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  10. Also, how long would you say it took for the symptoms completely go away? Like swelling and tenderness? I feel this tension sometimes at my Achilles when I flex my feet. Does it all go away after time?

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    1. For me the itching/burning/obnoxiousness lasted at least 3 days, spreading to the back of my ankle…somewhat similar to a mosquito bite, but as you say it felt moreso because it did tend to want to affect deeper anatomy. The itching and rash couldn’t have been longer than a week, but for a complete full heal from the sting site, it was almost a year before the scab went away. Every so often even now (though farther and farther apart) the area will twinge, reminding me of the incident. It feels like forever as you wait but soon it’ll just be a memory and a cool story to tell :)

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      1. I was stung on the top of my left foot. I took plain old Claritin to relieve the itch, which might have lasted for a few days. Developed cellulitis after one week, and was treated for that. It took about 6-8 months for the soreness to go away — a mild ache that I’d feel only upon waking up in the morning; something similar to muscle soreness after you work out muscles you haven’t used in a long time. I still have a dime-sized discolouration around the wound point, and it has now been a full year since the injury/

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  11. I’m so glad I came across this as it’s eased my mind . I was stung 7 days ago and today it’s so itchy red and hot to touch . Also inflamed . The night it happened i felt pretty unwell – sickly and headache . Do you think I need to go to Doctor or does that sound normal . I’m from Scotland ( was on holiday in Florida ! ) and we don’t get stingrays around here ! Thanks for any advice .

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    1. I’m not sure if the itchiness is a sign of infection, but the heat and inflammation definitely are. Seek medical attention, because marine bacteria are not friendly to landlubbers. As for your headache and sickliness, I felt the same way after my last sausage bap in Glasgow!

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  12. My husbamd and I were in Fort DeSoto Florida last week when I was stung by a sting ray btwn the toes. Oh my God, the pain!!! But Wednesday….EXACTLY 7 days…it started itching like crazy. I am so glad i came across these posts, bcs i thought i was imagining it. Also the sting area is hard, like a knot, under the skin and it feels like a tender bruise when touched. I am not as concerned now, knowing this is common, but i will def keep an eye on it with my doc on speed dial!! Thanks

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    1. I went to my out of hours service today and have been told there is an infection and am now on a course of antibiotics for 7days . They have drawn around the area with a pen to keep a check on the redness and inflammation to see if it’s spreading . I’m really glad I read this post so that I went to see about it . Hopefully it will sort itself out now . Thanks for the advice !

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  13. I’m so glad I read your post, and all the comments! I was stung 10 days ago in Port Aransas, TX. I thought I had been bitten by a small shark, and I just new my toe had been torn away from my foot. With the amount of pain I felt, there was just no other explanation. When I finally got out of the water, all I had to show for my pain was a small puncture, that was bleeding profusly. Within 5 minutes my toe was bruising, so I assumed I has snagged it on something stuck under the water and broke it. After getting back to my room and cleaning it, I tried to elevate it, which caused the pain to intensify. My husband, annoyed by my “dramatic” response to the event, insisted that I elevate it (as we thought it was broken). I tried for a little while longer, only to be jolted out of bed to a standing position because I could no longer tolerate the pain. I then chose to sit in a chair and rest my foot on a chair across from me, keeping it level. I noticed red blotchy spots forming on the top of my foot, below my toe. My whole foot burned like fire when my husband touched the blotchy area. My friend finally suggested I was stung by a stingray, and we went to the fire station to get it checked out. They called the EMS, and I was advised to soak it in hot water and apply meat tenderizer. The hot water took the pain away, and all the bruising was gone the next morning, but I had a clear blister that popped up right below the puncture. It continued to look better, but with each day after about the third day it started to turn colors. I started two antibiotics when we got back, on day 6 of the sting, and I’m on day 5 of antibiotics and my toe is swollen, with dark red/blue marks, and some drainage. The itching is insane at this point, and I was about to go tell my PCP how much he didn’t know (he told me the other day it looked fine). So I am glad to see that this swelling and itching phase seems to be the final little storm before the calm!

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    1. Oh, and I guess there’s no specific antibiotic that is better than another? I am currently taking Doxycycline and Cephalexin together.

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  14. Good to hear I am not alone on this and seems like where I am is the same place and just confirms that it was a stingray
    I was on Coronado Beach in San Diego and was stung 10 days ago.
    The initial sting wasn’t too painful, so I just let it be.
    Today, back in NYC, it itches like crazy and is a little swollen, but no pain.
    Wondering if I should ride it out or get it checked out? I am not sure how versed NYC doctors will be on the subject

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    1. I was stung in St. Pete’s and a week later I went to the ER in suburban Chicago, and they knew exactly what to do — so I think you’ll get good guidance in NYC.

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  15. I was stung about a month ago in Bucerias Mexico on the pacific coast 2 days before Christmas. I was in the water for all of 2 mins when I put my foot down to ride a wave in (I was only waist deep) when all of the sudden there was this pain that felt like a knife piercing into the bottom of my foot. I immediately thought I had stepped on a sharp she’ll or had been stung by a jellyfish, but within seconds I was overcome with some of the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced in my life. In distress and grabbing my foot, my boyfriend scooped me out of the water and carried me to shore. Someone came running down to the beach as I was wailing in pain and informed us that it was a sting Ray that stung me. I was carried to the bar on the beach where the locals knew what to do. They soaked these leaves found on the beach in hot water that apparently have some medicinal properties for such a wound. If I had not had as quick of action or knowledge about what had happened to me as fast as I did, I’m sure my outcome would have been much worse. I was riving in pain for about 90 mins, it had subsided somewhat after the initial 30 mins and a few shots and a pain killer later (I was in Mexico, real medical care was limited). On a side note, I did have some lady trying to push her positive energy into my wound… I had to tell her to move and that it was not working… Someone was talking about cutting me open and I said that was not happening, not here, not on a beach. Instead I had people slapping the venom out of the wound while I laid face down on a chair. I think the guy that got me was a little one, and the puncture wound on the arch of my foot is really small. However it doesn’t matter the size I learned when it comes to venom, I guess they are just as venomous as babies as they are adults, the only thing that differs for these types of injuries is the size of the tail and species, but all in all the pain from the venom is the same. I rated my pain at 9/10 and im glad it subsided quickly. My partners family had to see me in probably the worst states of my life, which was somewhat embarrassing. I also had several people ask me the following days later that had seen me deliriously and incoherently coping with my pain how I was doing. My reaction was omg you actually had to see my like that and I was somewhat mortified. I got a tetanus shot as soon as I had returned to the states 4 days later. A month later and I’m still sore around the puncture site. I can wear shoes fine, went snowboarding just fine, but if I put pressure in one particular spot (usually happens when going up the stairs or stepping on uneven surfaces) it still hurts/is sore. There is what appears to be either still swelling or hardened scar tissue by the puncture site. It’s not red or anything, but I still keep an eye on it. It definitely itched A LOT a week afterwards. I also had a few instances of sharp shooting pain. I still find the itch to return from time to time though, but not as badly. Time will tell if there is More damage. It went through an area where there are a lot of tendons (the arch) so we shall see. Thanks for all that have shared, helps me better understand my injuries as well.

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  16. Its crazy to see so many people with similar symptoms as what I have. I was stung on the inside of my right heel in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, 9 days ago. When it happened, at first I thought I was being bitten by a small crab, and a second later it felt like someone dropped a cinder block on my foot. I said some choice words, picked my foot up out of the water, and noticed that I was bleeding pretty bad from a spot on the heel of my foot. I got out of the water, at which point some friends suggested it was from a sting ray. They checked for a barb, and luckily nothing was embedded in my foot. The pain got really intense immediately, and I couldn’t move off the cooler that I chose as an initial resting place for at least an hour. The pain varied minute to minute, but at some points I had a dull pain all the way up to my hip. I rested my feet in the hot sand, and may have inadvertently broken down the venom through doing so, because it became less intense about 2 hours later. My foot was a bit swollen, and had a dark blue/purple line heading about 2 inches up towards my ankle, but I was able to walk home 3 hours after it happened, and hobble around that night.

    Fast forward 3 full days later; I’m home and went to the gym for the first time since the incident. I did some moderate cardio and think I might have flushed what poison was remaining in my leg out into my system, because I got really sick later that night. For the next two days I had no energy, chills, a mild headache, was nauseous and experienced vertigo if I moved my head or eyes around too fast. It was weird, and not like other times I’ve had a normal cold or flu… Am I wrong to assume it had something to do with the sting a few days prior?

    Last night was 8 days since it happened, and it started itching considerably. Today it looks a little red, is a bit swollen, and is tender above the scab. I’m a bit concerned, and am going to watch it tonight and tomorrow, and head to the doctor if it doesn’t improve.

    Anyway, I thought I’d quickly share as well to add my experience, as it was interesting reading all of yours! I’ll update this if anything else changes!

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  17. My daughter was stung and was put on Bactrim. Nine days later, her wound became quite inflamed and she developed a rash all over her body. I gave her 10 mg of Zyrtex, but hives began to appear. I took her to the allergist who added another dose of Zytec 10 mg plus a stronger antihistime at night called Hydroxyzine HCL 25 mg 1 to 2 tab Even on that dose her rash got worse. By the second night, she is starting to get some relief and it might be starting to calm down. The dr also added a new antibiotic, Cipro as my daughter has other sensitivities and the dr was concerned about potential infection at the site because it was so inflamed and warm.

    Thank you for your comments.It helps to know others had delayed reactions too.

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  18. Did you ever soak it in hot water? I don’t know how you managed the pain without it! I also stepped ON a stingray’s tail. You are the only other person I have come across who has also done this. We must be pretty lucky. ;) The stingray must have dragged it’s tail across the bottom of my foot because I had an inch long and inch deep gash along the bottom of my foot. I was gushing blood all over the beach and wanted to die from the pain. This was over 2 years ago and I still get those little red itchy bumps all around the scar. I feel like there was a barb the doctor must have missed. Now whenever my friends get pricked on their ankle or top of their foot and complain about the pain, I’m like… Don’t even talk to me about it. Try having a huge gash on the bottom of your foot. Haha. I am SO careful now at the beach!

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  19. I’m on day 9 and experiencing the same things as the original poster. My sting is in exactly the same spot. The itching is unbearable at times. The doctor called me in 500 mg of Kaflex to be taken 3 times a day for 10 days. As for now with the way it is I’m not sure it’s helping.

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  20. Day 9 (yesterday) I end up going to a walk in emergency clinic. The swelling was so bad and painful I could hardly walk. I requested a steroid shot because of previous post. The swelling was down quite a bit by day 10 and no pain. My foot is more of a deep purple now but no itching or pain and I’m thankful for that. He did prescribe me a second antibiotic to take along with the first one.

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  21. Very thankful for the post and comments. Being stung by a sting ray is a unique situation! I’m at day 9 and yes the itching is awful and the puncture spot is inflamed. I think it will be like several of these people and will settle down soon.

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    1. I went Friday evening (day 9) and got a steroid shot. At day 11 is still swollen but not as bad. Claritin helped me with itching

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  22. Thank you so much for all your posts. It was very helpful. I would like to share my experience. I got stung by stingray 8 days ago at Clearwater Beach, FL. I was walking in the shallow water as I was exiting the water. I felt sharp pain in my feet. The pain was unbelievable. Only people who experienced it could understand it. I also experienced some shock and I couldn’t move my foot. Luckily my husband was nearby and cared me to the shore. I am so grateful there was a lifeguard on duty. He gave me a bucket with hot water, so I could soak my foot in to relieve the pain. The pain went away in about 3 hours, but I couldn’t walk that day. Overnight my foot felt better and I even was able to attend my friend Birthday. The next few days I didn’t feel any pain and I was able to return to my normal routine. Until today (8th day) my foot got worse. It is itchy, hot, red and swollen. I am so glad I found this blog. It is big relief to know that these symptoms are common. Will keep you posted with my healing process. Thank you.

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  23. I stepped on one a 5 years ago and it still hasn’t healed correctly. Most of the time it has a callus over it, but from time to time it softens and the little bit of tissue that did grow back is stringy (only way I can think to describe it) and boy does it hurt. Hopefully your’s won’t do this. To add to my wonderful first trip to Florida, I was stung by a jellyfish 2 days later and found out I’m allergic to benadryl. Fyi I didn’t go to the doctor for any of it

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  24. Thank goodness for this blog!! I was stung by *something* on 5/16. we had no idea what it was that had gotten me, but we knew that i bled like mad and had a decent v shaped cut on top of my foot and it hurt like a B, like someone ran my foot over with a car, for about 6 hours. We were at a semi remote beach so no life guards, no one around to ask their opinion. since the pain and bleeding finally stopped we skipped an ER trip. 8 days later my foot swelled up and turned red and itched, so further research led me to here, which confirmed, i was stingrayed. a round of antibiotics and prednisone has helped. I’ll keep monitoring as some comments above have me worried about long term effects.

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  25. Got stung 8 days ago in SD. Itching like hell and whole foot swollen today. Thanks for blog i know itll be ok. On antibiotics now. If i dont post again, they worked!

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  26. wow — amazing to have found this blog that has obviously been going for years. I’m sitting here at 3.30am in Sydney, having been stung 16 days ago, trying to work out why the wound has suddenly become so painful at night that it wakes me up. Initial pain at the beach was appalling, hot water soaking at hospital was magical, I was checked that no barb remained, healed well and quickly with just a bit of red swelling left after 2 weeks, and then suddenly 2 nights ago in the middle of the night I had an hour’s pain that was similar to the initial pain (although nowhere near as excruciating). Now I’ve got it again tonight. But once I get up it goes away. Something to do with lying down and having my foot elevated? It seems others have commented on that initially — but after this amount of time? Any ideas? I don’t think it’s infected. And I had a bit of the itching people have talked about, but not any more.

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    1. For me at least (it has been a couple years) I had that off and on for an entire year, gradually decreasing. Never could find a repeatable source or reason.

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  27. I got stung this summer, not knowing what it was until I did some research and deduced that it was a stingray sting- due to the symptoms I had. It felt like a crab pinch when I got stung and my toe was immediately bleeding when I got out of the water. After about 30 minutes, I felt an unbearable amount of pain that would not subside. My friends thought I hit my foot on a rock and didn’t believe that it hurt so much. I literally layed on the beach and cried for an hour while they went to rite aid to get me bandaids because there was no lifeguard on this beach. I remember just not being able to move my foot because I didn’t want the pain to increase. Getting to the car was difficult and I had to hop on one foot. When I got in the car, my friends proceeded to wash the wound with water but I don’t know if it was the fact that it was an open wound or if the air was cool but I could feel the air hitting the wound and it was such an unbelievable pain I couldn’t keep still and just kept crying. After the incident I would wrap my foot and slowly walk because it hurt to walk for about a week. Towards the end of the week it started getting better, however it didn’t start to itch. I was able to walk but as the days went by my foot and toe, where the sting was, was swollen, hot, itchy and red. The skin felt hard and half of my foot was completely red. I ended up having to go to the Emergency room and got an x-ray done, an antibiotic shot and was prescribed antibiotics to take for 10 days. They told me if the redness spread any further I would have to be hospitalized and be given IV antibiotics. Thankfully, it got better and I was able to return to normal function. It’s been almost 6 months now and the only thing I have to say is that I still have a brown mark from where the stingray stung, wondering how long it will take for that to go away. Also I can’t tell if it looks like my toe is the slightest bit more swollen than my other one? But idk how that would be if it’s been so long. All in all, that was the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in my life and I wish we would’ve known what it was so I could have gotten immediate medical attention. Hopefully this helped anyone out there and feel free to ask any questions! :)

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    1. It is crazy pain for a few hours. Good news it does go away quickly. Keep an eye out for infections, neosporin and keep it clean. This is not the end though, the itch gets crazy crazy intense for 2-5 days. After that it is over. Hot water is the immediate treatment. Not too hot to burn you though. It helped me a lot. This is the initial treatment that lifeguards use. It actually breaks down the toxin proteins. Hang with it. You will be fine!

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